Hybrid Trucks Get Stuck in Neutral

Technology remains too expensive, leading to low demand, higher prices
By John Lister,  Newser User
Posted Nov 12, 2007 4:50 PM CST
FedEx Ground trucks are lined up outside their facility in Wilmington, Mass. Wednesday, June 20, 2007. FedEx Corp. said Wednesday its fiscal fourth-quarter profit rose 7 percent on increased revenue and...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Hybrid truck sales are sputtering because the technology is too expensive, and companies ordering vehicle fleets won’t pay extra for environmental benefits alone. But without bulk orders, economies of scale aren’t kicking in. One truck company president says government tax breaks or subsidies are needed to boost hybrid sales, Reuters reports.

Hybrids convert braking into electric power, so urban delivery trucks save more fuel than long-distance haulers. FedEx, which says its 95-truck hybrid fleet is the world’s largest, says hybrid trucks would be affordable if they sold for 25% more than regular models—just as hybrid cars do. "Manufacturers will be able to sell as many as they can make," said an exec.