Commercial Trucks Look to Hybrid Technology

Feb 03, 2011

Hybrid logo on vehicleFor fleets looking to increase fuel savings, hybrid technologies are a solution that is becoming more and more attractive:

In the face of rising fuel costs and stricter emissions regulations in many parts of the world, fleet operators are increasingly looking to hybrid drivetrain designs to help make their medium- and heavy-duty trucks cleaner and more fuel efficient. While truck manufacturers and suppliers have been in the early stages of hybrid vehicle launches for several years, the market has yet to achieve significant sales volumes. However, a recent report from Pike Research forecasts that the hybrid truck sector will reach an inflection point over the next few years, increasing from just 9,000 vehicles sold in 2010 to more than 100,000 vehicles annually in 2015.

"Payback periods on hybrid drivetrains are improving for medium and heavy-duty truck classes, particularly as oil prices continue to rise," says senior analyst Dave Hurst. "An increased focus on efficiency and regulatory compliance among fleet managers, combined with a variety of new models being introduced by truck manufacturers, will lead to substantial growth in this market over the next five years."

Hurst adds that there are five types of hybrid systems that can be implemented on board medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles:

  • Hybrid electric
  • Plug-in hybrid electric
  • Battery electric
  • Mild electric power take-off (EPTO) hybrids
  • Hydraulic hybrids

Among these options, Pike Research forecasts that hybrid electric trucks will be the largest segment between now and 2015. Fleets with local delivery trucks will be strong candidates for battery electric vehicles. Pike Research does not anticipate a sizable opportunity for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) in the medium- and heavy-duty truck markets.

[via Work Truck]

Photo courtesy of M 93 and re-used under the Creative Commons license.