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Volvo Powertrain might land Air Force contract

September 13, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN

Volvo Powertrain in Hagerstown might get a $2 million contract with the U.S. Air Force to complete development of a heavy-duty hybrid electric vehicle.

The money is included in a version of the Department of Defense 2008 spending bill, which must be approved by the Senate, according to a press release from the office of U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md. That debate and vote have not been scheduled.

The project with Volvo Powertrain is aimed at reducing dangerous emissions and improving fuel economy, said John Walsh, spokesman for Mack Trucks Inc., which is part of the Volvo Group.

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Volvo Powertrain employs about 1,500 workers in Hagerstown.

The spending bill includes $61.5 million for defense projects in Maryland, including $2 million for a project in Western Maryland.

The Air Force uses the hybrid vehicles to fuel aircraft, and others are dump trucks, said 1st Lt. Evan Lagasse, spokesman for Robins Air Force base in Georgia.

"We don't have a large number of them, but we do have at least a few of them at different Air Force bases," he said.

Walsh said that Volvo Powertrain has had five contracts with the Air Force, which called for the development of six prototype vehicles. Of those, three have been delivered.

All of the hybrid driveline technology is developed by Volvo Powertrain in Hagerstown, Walsh said. The vehicles are produced just outside of Allentown, Pa.

Walsh said that the new technology is developed for the Air Force, and can then be used later for commercial customers.

"That is actually called for in the contracts," he said. "Ultimately, we are all interested in a cleaner environment and reducing our dependence on foreign oil."

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