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Hybrid medium-, heavy-duty truck sales to surpass 100,000 units by 2017: report

As the global economy begins tentative steps toward recovery, truck manufacturers are looking to technologies that can help mitigate the rising cost of diesel fuel while meeting increasingly strict emissions requirements.

Trucks that use electricity to meet these goals come in four variations: hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid, battery electric, and plug-in electric power take-off (EPTO) to operate equipment onboard without using fuel. As technology costs fall and diesel prices increase, the value proposition for hybrid trucks is strong. A new report from Pike Research forecasts that sales will surpass 100,000 vehicles annually by 2017.

“The truck market has experienced seismic changes in the last few years,” said senior analyst Dave Hurst. “The global recession has taken a huge toll on medium-duty and heavy-duty truck sales in many regions. As fuel prices have increased, truck manufacturers have responded by expanding their offerings of alternative drivetrains to help reduce emissions and fuel usage by trucks.”

However, Hurst said the primary challenge facing the hybrid truck market remains the cost of the system. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) all continue to have higher upfront costs that are significant enough to result in higher total cost of ownership for the vehicles. While the typical operating cost of a diesel vehicle is higher than that of other drivetrains ($0.72/mile for diesel versus $0.60/mile for hybrid and $0.22/mile for BEV trucks), Pike Research’s analysis indicates the higher purchase cost and low cost of diesel in some markets means the trucks are not able to recover the incremental costs for the electric drive system in their lifetime. As a result, government incentives and emissions or fuel economy regulations will continue to play an important role in promoting hybrids and plug-in trucks.

Pike Research’s analysis further indicates most HEV, PHEV, and BEV trucks will use different chemistries of lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries. The clean-tech market intelligence firm expects the use of nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries will peak in 2016, as vehicle manufacturers move their remaining systems toward Li-ion. The Li-ion market is expected to reach 3.6 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) globally in the medium- and heavy-duty truck market by 2017.

The Pike Research report Hybrid Medium- and Heavy-Duty Trucks examines opportunities and challenges in the market for hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks. It assesses the different drivetrains, battery technologies, and key drivers of market growth. The report explores global government regulations regarding diesel emissions and vehicle purchase incentives and includes detailed forecasts through 2017. Key market players are also profiled. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.

For more information, visit or call +1-303-997-7609.

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