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Retail giant Wal-Mart has taken delivery of its (and the industry's) first hybrid Class 8 big rig. The Peterbilt Model 386 Hybrid is the result of a partnership between Peterbuilt and Eaton, latter of which was tasked with developing the truck's hybrid system. There are no surprises in how it works. Braking energy is recovered and stored in the batteries, which in turn power an electric generator/motor that's used to supply added punch, increase range, and, in certain situations, allow the rig to operate on battery power alone. The batteries also supply power to the truck's electrical and accessory systems, and the projected fuel cost savings to owners is around $9,000 annually based on the current price of diesel.

The Model 386 Hybrid will continue to be tested and evaluated while it serves in Wal-Mart's truck fleet, helping Peterbilt refine the vehicle and its aerodynamics ahead of its full market launch, which is expected in 2009. Wal-Mart will likely be there, checkbook in hand, as increasing fleet efficiency by 25 percent is one of the planks inthe retailer's new "Sustainability 360" platform.

UPDATE: Gallery of Peterbilt's hybrid offerings added below.
Peterbilt Model 386 Hybrid
  • Peterbilt Model 386 Hybrid
  • Peterbilt Model 386 Hybrid
  • Peterbilt Model 335 Hybrid
  • Peterbilt Model 330 Hybrid

[Source: The Pete Store via Wired.]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 5 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago

      There's an interesting write-up on Peterbilt trucks at Google Answers:

      http://answers.google.com/answers/main?cmd=threadview&id=168078
      Peterbilt Trucks


      They cover all trouble reports with Peterbilt -- lawsuits, recalls, crash reports, etc. Very much worth a look for anyone involved with trucks (or thinking of getting involved!).

      dj
      • 7 Years Ago
      Fantastic. I bet the torquey electric motor helps a lot for getting a heavy vehicle like that off the line.

      Now let's see some solar panels on the trailer -- there's an awful lot of surface area back there.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It wouldn't be feasable to add any of the "hybrid" technology to the trailer itself as these are swapped out from truck to truck. Being able to put it all on the rig itself would all them to operate no matter what the cargo or trailer. Peterbilt builds the rigs, not the trailer. I love the idea and until they can get the majority of these rigs and other cargo carriers to go green, us buying little prius' isn't going to matter that much.
      danwat1234
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yea, that's awesome! But, how will it handle hauling 40 tons up a long climb?
      I hope the diesel engine is still at least 400HP..

      The regenerative braking would not be on the trailer axles, only the truck axles..

      I hope the project succeeds, and I start seeing them on the road in Oregon!
      • 7 Years Ago
      You would be better off having topping of the batteries with shore power than turning the roof of the trailer into a big solar array. Every pound of PV module is one less of cargo that you can move.

      Your HP needs depend on where you run. Unless you are going to be running over the Rockies or Sierra Nevada 325-350 HP is more than enough.

      I'd like to see an optional kit that replaces that engine brake with a large dump load for sustained breaking going down a hill like Diesel Electric Locomotives have.