The Hidden Hybrid Revolution

If all eyes are on electric vehicle, EV hybrid, HEV sedans and sports car, another quiet revolution with heavier trucks could lend a lot of steam to the mass adoption of hybrid systems.

The gist, if T. Boone Pickens likes to rehash that: “A battery won’t move an 18-wheeler,” the former oilman and current promoter of natural gas might have to take a closer look at the new innovations and research in the filed of moving big, heavy rigs with hybrid systems.

True, cost and size of batteries have long been the problem when it comes to making affordable and efficient vehicles, but many companies have clearly understand that this was were the future was.  Case in point, Southern California Edison, SCE.

Edward Kjaer, the director of electric transportation there said that 5 years ago, SCE was working on a prototype plug-in hybrid that it is still in working today.  Best part yet, the company is working on creating another, with yet another non plug-in hybrid, PHEV utility truck, with a drive-train made by the Eaton Corporation. SCE is looking for more in that direction.  And why shouldn’t they, when they realize the savings these PHEVs return compared to straight gas engines.

Current state of the technology, and the answer to the question: “Can batteries help improve the performance and fuel economy of an 18-wheeler?”  Absolutely, yes, according to Kevin Beaty Eaton Corporation.  With Eaton already producing hybrid-electric motors for FedEx’ smaller trucks, as well as for city buses in Asia, they have the experience and research needed to make it a reality.

All in all, the market is growing, the application of electric engines and PHEV are finding more and more use in fields once thought of as impossible.  Truly, the revolution has been underway for a while now.

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