Although hybrid cars have been around for a while,since 1997 in Japan and 1999 in the US, the history of the hybrid truck is fairly recent.
Since the pick up truck forms perhaps the most important segment for GM it was but natural that they should try and build a hybrid in this segment.Moreover this is the most rapidly growing segment in hybrid vehicles as well.Trucks are expected to account for 60% of all hybrid sales by 2008.
The first hybrid trucks were from GM and Chrysler.The first full size pick up hybrids were the Chevy Silverado and the Dodge Ram which went on sale in the US in 2004.
These vehicles have now reached a stage of development where you can drive a powerful pick up truck or a SUV without feeling guilty about either damaging the environment or using up limited oil reserves.These new hybrid vehicles combining conventional gasoline engines with electric power allow you to do just that.The savings on gas could be as high as 60% and emissions be cut by up to 97%.
The first trucks were initially available to only fleet operators but are now available to all kinds of buyers,and have been an instant hit.
Hybrid trucks being used by utilities are gaining in popularity because they operate much more silently than their conventional counterparts.Often operating at night or early in the morning they are able to do their work without waking up the entire neighborhood.The 60% saving on gas is an added bonus.
Amongst new developments Kenworth Truck Company has introduced a hybrid electric truck for municipal fleets and utility companies.PACCAR together with Eaton has announced plans of developing a hybrid truck.But it is again a Japanese company,Mitsubishi,which has launched the most efficient diesel hybrid truck. the Canter Eco Hybrid.Since modern diesel engines are more efficient than petrol engines and also equally clean it is a huge success.
However it is an American company GM which has undertaken the most interesting development in this class of vehicles.It is developing a new diesel hybrid truck for the military.Apart from savings on fuel and being cleaner they offer a huge tactical advantage in battle conditions.They are more silent and therefore more difficult to detect.They also give off less heat and are less likely to be picked up by heat sensors of the opposition.
Presently these vehicles do have some disadvantages.Although they have four wheel drive it is not as efficient as the 4WD of a regular gas based vehicle ,especially in off road conditions.Moreover hybrids are not good at towing trailers over a long distance.
But there are many advantages of owning a hybrid.There are state purchase incentives for hybrids as well as federal tax breaks.Some companies too give incentives to employees to buy hybrids.You would also do well to remember that no training is required to drive a hybrid.It drives the same as your old gasoline vehicle.they are also perfectly safe.And what is more they are improving with each passing year.