Wal-Mart has made its intentions very clear to reduce the fuel bill of its massive truck fleet by improving efficiency. We've talked a couple of times about their plans and the latest news is that advanced hybrid technologies jointly developed by Peterbilt Motors Company and Eaton Corporation have been combined with a modern aerodynamic design to produce a heavy-duty truck with superior fuel efficiency. The heavy-duty hybrid electric power system should be available in 2009.

Testing has shown that the Eaton Hybrid Power System typically returns a 5-7 percent fuel savings versus comparable, non-hybrid models. The heavy-duty hybrid electric power system features an electric motor/generator between the clutch and the transmission to offer regenerative breaking and improved performance.

Analysis: Via their "Sustainability 360" program, Wal-Mart is aggressively promoting environmental stewardship among customers, suppliers and associates through a number of global innovation projects. Hybrid technology offers huge fuel savings for long-haul trucks even when efficiency is only slightly better than non-hybrid systems due to the huge distances covered each year. Ultimately the trucks must move into urban areas as well to deliver their goods and that's where the hybrid component really shines. Emissions and pollution fall dramatically when hybrid technology is further combined with clean diesel systems and biodiesel.

Related:

[Source: Peterbilt press release]

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