"We believe that hybrid technology is an important development for the commercial transportation sector," said Daniel C. Ustian, president and chief executive officer of Navistar International Corp. "Increasing fuel efficiency and reducing emissions for the nation's commercial trucks results in significant benefits for all of us."
The International DuraStar Hybrid diesel hybrid electric truck can provide fuel savings from 30-40 percent on a standard in-city pickup and delivery applications. The fuel efficiency can increase to more than 60 percent in utility-type applications when the engine can be shut off, but electric power still operates the vehicle. Diesel emissions are completely eliminated when the hybrid truck operates equipment (like overhead utility booms) solely on the truck's battery power, instead of allowing the engine to idle.
Last year International built and delivered 24 developmental hybrid units to 14 major utility companies across North America.
"These units are now successfully operating, giving us confidence in the quality and reliability of our new hybrid electric product," said Jim Williams, director of Sales & Distribution, New Products for International Truck. "As part of this development process, we have teamed with the Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF), which is a consortium of utility industry customers, Eaton Corp., the federal government and the WestStart-CALSTART organization. This was necessary to assist us with the cost of bringing this new technology to market. It also has given us the direct customer feedback and support that is required to make the program a success. The prototype phase is done - International is now building hybrid trucks."
The Hybrid Truck Users Forum estimates that nearly 1,000 gallons of fuel can be saved annually on utility trucks. With almost 100,000 new medium-duty commercial trucks expected to be sold this year, even if a portion of those trucks sold are International's hybrid trucks, the overall fuel savings could be substantial.
The key challenge facing the trucking industry is the high initial cost to bring the hybrid technology to market. As International builds scale, hybrid truck prices are expected to decrease dramatically, similar to price reduction in computer technology and home electronics equipment over the years. Many customers have also been working to secure government funding to help offset the cost of the new technology. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 can provide tax credits of up to $12,000 per unit.
For more information about ordering hybrid trucks, visit www.InternationalTrucks.com.