Trains do it, trucks do it...could a diesel/electric hybrid passenger car be far off? Yesterday Honda announced the introduction of a Class 8 hybrid diesel/electric truck into its fleet that serves a Honda parts center in Alpharetta, Ga. They say this makes them the first company in their industry to use a hybrid diesel/electric commercial truck for parts transport. The truck, a Smartway-certified Model 386 hybrid, is built for Honda by Peterbilt Motors Company.
Honda Diesel/Electric Hybrid Transport TruckEnlarge Photo
Unlike diesel/electric trains or the Fisker Karma, which use their engines strictly as generators, Honda's Class 8 hybrid truck operates in much the same manner as one of the company's gas/electric hybrids like the 2010 Insight. The Eaton-developed parallel diesel/electric hybrid powertrain uses regenerative braking to charge onboard batteries. And electric motors are used for heating, A/C, and electrical systems, allowing engine shut down at idle and creating less parasitic drag when the diesel is running.
While the Class 8 hybrid truck transports parts between parts centers and dealerships, Honda will be carefully monitoring the truck's performance and consumption over the next year. They'll use it on two routes; a hilly Tennessee leg and a relatively flat one in Georgia. Honda will alternate journeys between the hybrid truck and its traditional diesel counterpart as a control. Engine telematics will perform data collection to accurately compare the two trucks with each other.
American Honda Motor Co. claims it is introducing the hybrid truck into its transportation fleet "as part of its on-going effort to reduce its global CO2 footprint and fuel consumption."