Forecast puts 300 000 hybrid trucks and buses on the road in five years

The global market for hybrid medium and heavy-duty trucks and buses will increase from 9,000 vehicles sold in 2010 to more than 100,000 vehicles in 2015, according to cleantech market analyst Pike Research. During this five-year period, the firm forecasts that a total of nearly 300,000 hybrid trucks will be sold worldwide.

Transit buses have long been an important platform for testing new drivetrains in the heavy-duty vehicle market, but within the past couple of years, manufacturers have significantly increased their development of hybrid electric and hydraulic hybrid drivetrains for the medium and heavy-duty truck segments, the company says. These hybrid vehicles promise a reduction in fuel consumption between 5 per cent and 50 per cent depending on design, which will help reduce costs and emissions, making hybrid trucks more and more attractive for fleet managers.

"Fleet managers are actively seeking tools to insulate themselves from growing fuel costs and increasingly stringent emissions regulations," says senior analyst Dave Hurst, "but at the same time they do not want to compromise on vehicle requirements. Many new hybrid truck designs introduced in the next few years hold strong potential to strike a balance between efficiency, cost, and performance."

Hurst adds that, while North America is currently the leading region for hybrid trucks, Asia Pacific will take the lead in 2011, driven by growth in both Japan and China. Pike Research forecasts that the United States will remain the largest single market for hybrid trucks and buses between now and 2015, followed closely by China.

Both hybrid and battery electric vehicles have good potential for the medium and heavy-duty truck classes. Fleets that need to cover expansive territory while carrying heavy-duty loads are likely to adopt hybrid technology to help contain the costs of the battery. On the other hand, fleets that have a set delivery or commuter route will probably gravitate towards battery electric technology. Hurst does not expect to see significant numbers in the plug-in hybrid truck category, though the greatest source of interest in plug-in hybrid trucks will be from utility companies.

Pike Research's study, "Hybrid Trucks and Buses", analyses the opportunities and challenges in the market for hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric medium and heavy-duty trucks and buses. An executive summary can be downloaded from the firm's website.

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