This week Sean Kilcarr at Fleet Owner online discussed a tech trend that many of us have felt making waves, but is unclear when it comes to the future of trucking: alt-fuel trucks are becoming big business. The question is, what type of alt-fuel truck will be taking the lead in the next decade? Company managers have a choice between compressed natural gas power plants (CNG), liquid natural gas engines (LNG), a hybrid gas/electric engine, or a pure electric engine truck. One research firm has placed their bet: hybrids will be the leader by 2020.
A new study by global research firm Frost & Sullivan indicates that hybrid propulsion technology is going to be the leading alternative power choice in the world’s medium-heavy commercial truck market by the end of this decade.
Why hybrids instead of something that would virtually erase all emissions from the equation? The short answer is that hybrids don’t rely as much on infrastructure build up that other tech, particularly natural gas-based trucks, would need in order to keep the bottom line attractive to fleets.
Transit buses, in particular, will make up the lion’s share of hybrid fleets in terms of installation rates, while medium-heavy trucks featuring parallel hybrid architecture will account for the majority of the production volumes, noted Sandeep Kar, Frost & Sullivan’s global director-commercial vehicle research.
So to put this in perspective, heavy duty over-the-road trucks won’t really be in the mix for alt fuels as quickly as 2020. However, over the road trucks have their own energy-friendly trend: recently it was discovered for the first time ever that 13 liter engines outsold 15 liter engines in heavy trucks.
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