?Why Green is Good for Trucks
Today’s modern SUVs were originally based on trucks and with good reasons. Trucks are versatile machines, transporting soil from Home Depot; towing the yacht to the lake; to hauling family members, their belongings, and even a mid-sized car to use for jaunts to the local restaurant after parking the truck at one’s favorite camping spot.
So it’s surprising that truck owners have not embraced hybrid technology. Who wouldn’t want phenomenally better gas mileage? But in some ways the reaction is understandable. The most well-known hybrid vehicle, the Toyota Prius, is not known for its power to go up mountains or tow even a small cart much less two tons of rocks. Trucks, to fulfill their duties, need power first.
But ‘hybrid’ means merger and in this case, a gasoline engine and battery pack with the latter either supplementing or replacing the former depending on driving conditions. This combination can be tuned to emphasize power or fuel economy, many times providing both. The six-cylinder hybrid Honda Accord, for example, gets an additional fifteen ponies compared to its non-hybrid version while providing gas mileage like its four-cylinder Civic siblings. GM’s first full-sized hybrid trucks, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, are estimated to get an additional ten percent increase in their mileage. While this may not sound like much, it adds ‘high mileage’ to the pair’s already impressive list of features. But most importantly, neither truck suffers lost of torque for speed, hauling or pulling power with the hybrid powertrain.
The batteries provide other advantages as well. The Silverado and Sierra can use their hybrid batteries to power equipment when on site, for example. Reviewers of the trucks for Automobile magazine found the feature heaven-sent when their computer equipment ran out of juice out in the middle of nowhere. Why haul miniature power plants or extra batteries when you drive one?
Finally, some of the most powerful and popular trucks have diesel option which is not allowed in many states due to environmental concerns. Hybrids were developed to be environmentally friendly and hybrid pickups could be used in lieu of their diesel brethren in such states.
Hybrids offer far more than just being friendly to one’s environment or better gas mileage. Truck owners, already driving one of the most versatile vehicles around, would have all those advantages magnified by a hybrid powertrain.