As genuine concern for the environment becomes mainstream, more and more people are considering hybrid and electric vehicles, including people who drive trucks.
There is no doubt the technology is evolving fast with car manufacturers including Ford, Toyota and Tesla continuously prototyping hybrid trucks. But as hybrid cars have been seen cruising through the streets for years, hybrid trucks are still a rarity and shows they still have a long way to go…
This article looks at the future of hybrid trucks.
Hybrid trucks use hybrid electric vehicle technology for energy, instead of only using an engine generating mechanical power by fuel combustion.
There’s been a lot of talk and progress with the electric car and although there are hybrid trucks in use today, they face many more challenges to become mainstream and commercially viable.
The Tesla Semi is meant to start limited production in late 2020, with orders already made by several companies including Pepsi, FedEx and DHL. Tesla claims it will be able to run for 640kms after a 30-minute recharge at a Tesla solar-powered charging station. It truly sounds impressive…
However, many industry experts are sceptical. They feel the cost and weight of batteries needed to power a large hybrid truck will make heavy-duty freight impractical. This is a definite weakness of hybrid trucks.
This is a well-known weakness of hybrid trucks…
The reality today is loading up a heavy-duty hybrid truck with batteries is a lot more expensive than buying a new diesel-fuelled truck. The current cost of batteries means this technology is better suited to smaller hybrid trucks and vans used in metropolitan areas.
Considerable infrastructure changes are being investigated to make commercial use of hybrid trucks viable. Here are a few:
- In countries like Germany, the US and Sweden testing overhead lines for large trucks to connect to during driving to access electrical power.
- A more expensive option is inductive charging, where coils are installed on the road which generates an electromagnetic field. These wirelessly recharge via receiving coils on the truck.
The future of hybrid trucks is evolving as fast as hybrid technology. It’s clear the trucking industry will need to make considerable changes to realise a more environmentally friendly future.
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