Heavy Hybrids: The Next Trucking Frontier

National Geographic takes a look at the advent of medium and heavy-duty hybrids.

Published: 07-Jun-2010

Don’t expect to see electric-powered 18-wheelers roaring down the interstate any time soon. What you are more likely to see are smaller highly fuel-efficient utility trucks and buses on neighborhood streets, and lots of them. Analysts project that hundreds of thousands of them will be on our roads within the next five years.

A new report by Pike Research, a research marketing firm that focuses on clean technologies, predicts that the global market for hybrid medium and heavy-duty trucks and buses will increase from 9,000 vehicles in 2010 to more than 100,000 vehicles in 2015. This year and next year, mainstream truck brands Navistar and Freightliner will even start to offer medium-duty trucks that run on electric power alone, joining several smaller, new brands that are already on the market.

During the five-year period, Pike predicts that more than 300,000 hybrid trucks will be sold worldwide. This would represent a 63 percent year-over-year increase in hybrid truck and bus demand, said report author Dave Hurst.


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The company is aiming to cut its vehicles' emissions by 35 percent over the next six years using combination of hybrid drive, biofuels and decreasing vehicle weight.

Honda CR-Z hybrid sports car concept.

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2010 Toyota Prius in San Francisco during Feb. 2009 press preview.

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