Truck manufacturer International has built 24 Class 6 utility trucks with a diesel/electric hybrid drivetrain, and will be delivering the trucks to 14 North American customers. Each customer will be required to pay the normal price for the truck, with government subsidies covering the additional cost of the Eaton hybrid conversion. If, after a year, the customer is happy with the results, they can continue testing the vehicles (and receive upgrades, if available). If not, then International will convert the vehicle back to a standard drivetrain. That sounds like a fair deal for the customer, and International gets some realistic testing. The company hopes this will allow them to offer a production hybrid truck by 2007 or 2008. A 30% improvement in fuel economy is claimed, which would result in a similar emissions reduction. Considering the new heavy-truck emission regulations that soon go into effect, that's an important benefit.
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