Boulder, Colorado – Commercial trucks will be among the fastest-growing markets for hybrid powertrains, according to Pike Research. Rising fuel costs and stricter emissions regulations in many parts of the world will have fleet operators increasingly looking to hybrid drivetrains to help make their medium- and heavy-duty trucks cleaner and more 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, Pike 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 annually in 2015.
“Payback periods on hybrid drivetrains are improving for medium- and heavy-duty truck classes, particularly as oil prices continue to rise,” said 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.”
Hybrid systems that can be implemented on such trucks include hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, battery electric, mild electric power take-off hybrids, and hydraulic hybrids. Pike 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, but the research firm does not anticipate a sizable opportunity for plug-in hybrids in the medium- and heavy-duty truck markets.