Soaring Diesel Prices Spur Interest In Hybrid Trucks

by | Mar 19, 2008

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m2e_hybrid.jpgNew EPA standards and $100-a-barrel oil are creating demand for hybrid big rigs, garbage trucks and dump trucks, even with the 35 percent premium over conventional vehicles, Forbes reports.

The appeal: hybrid trucks can deliver fuel savings of 5 percent to 60 percent, depending on how it is driven (hybrid power systems work best in vehicles that stop and start a lot like delivery trucks, garbage trucks and school and city buses). Long-haul vehicles can expect savings on the low end.

Every leading truck manufacturer plans to ramp up hybrid production as soon as possible, according to the article. Daimler, which owns Freightliner, plans to manufacture 1,500 hybrid trucks and produce a hybrid version of its Thomas-Built school bus, all using hybrid technology developed by Eaton. Eaton estimates that hybrids will make up about 10 percent of all new commercial truck sales in the U.S.

Last summer, Eaton announced that its medium-duty hybrid power systems were commercially available on the chassis of several major North American commercial vehicle manufacturers including International Truck and Engine Corporation, Kenworth Truck Co., Peterbilt Motors and Freightliner Corporation.

Second generation hybrids are also increasing adoption. New York City’s newer hybrid buses cost 40 percent less to maintain and 24 percent less to operate than previous hybrids, according to a recent report.

In the last few months, General Motors has received orders for more than 1,700 hybrid buses from transit agencies in Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Minneapolis/St. Paul and DaimlerBuses North America received orders from New York City and Ottowa for 1,052 Orion VII Next Generation diesel-electric hybrid transit buses. Last year, King County, Washington, was awarded a contract for the purchase of up to 500 articulated buses, most of which will be powered by General Motors’ 2-mode hybrid system.

UPS recently expanded its fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles with the deployment of 50 hybrid-electric delivery trucks. Coke has also purchased hybrid delivery trucks recently.

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