GE Gets Into Hybrid Game With Giant Mining TruckS

Even though this news is almost two months old, it's interesting to see GE bringing good things to life, namely giant mining trucks which improve upon the previously standard diesel-electric powertrain — especially in light of Friday's news of Chrysler tying up with Thomas Edison's conglomerate. These Goliaths of the open pits have been using monster generators to power equally massive in-wheel electric motors for years, but GE is now testing a system which puts a battery between the generator and the motors, creating a true hybrid rather than just a monstrously torquey one.

The new system integrates a 447 kW-capable, sodium-based battery from the GE locomotive division in place of the dissipative resistor system which previously was used to dump the heat of braking. Instead of wasting all that energy, the battery stores it up and uses it to get the mini-mountain moving again later. The truly brilliant thing about this program? GE is getting government bucks from the US Department of Energy to do it! [GE Research via Edmunds]