Your next utility emergency could be handled by a hybrid truck

A variety of segments in the heavy-truck industry could be well suited to hybrid drivetrains, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is showing off a couple different types at its Hybrid Vehicle expo.

TXU was showing off its recently purchased hybrid-electric utility bucket trucks, developed by International and Eaton. The hybrid version is said to add approximately $30,000 to the $140K base price of the truck, and we're not sufficiently familiar with the economics of operating such a vehicle to say whether or not that investment will pay off (International has claimed a 30% improvement in fuel economy). Given the 20-year average service life of such a truck, though, there is plenty of opportunity for hybrids to demonstrate an economic advantage.

Peterbilt also teamed up with Eaton to show off a hydraulically-boosted garbage hauler. In this case, ignore the potential fuel savings for just a moment - we'd be happy if the truck could silently move from house to house at 5AM, instead of waking us with a roaring engine and shrieking brakes. In all seriousness, it's hard to imagine an application that's better suited to a hybrid drivetrain, and we're excited to see such a vehicle getting some attention.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

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