The Diesel Hybrid Truck Concept: A Developing Technology

February 23, 2012

Diesel hybrid trucks have been available in one form or another for nearly a decade. Learn about the current state of diesel hybrid truck technology.

Truck At The Pump

A diesel hybrid truck can run on either batteries powering a motor, a diesel engine or both.

Unique Power Source
In most cars and trucks, the battery is charged by an alternator. This is actually a drain on horsepower and torque, since the engine turns the alternator. In a hybrid, the engine stills turns an alternator, but electrical power is also generated by braking action. What this means is that some of the energy created during braking and normally wasted as heat is converted to electricity by conversion of torque. This converted electricity is fed back to the hybrid batteries for later use.

Breaking New Ground
We've all seen the gas-electric hybrids. There's nothing new about hybrid technology. The idea of a diesel-hybrid first started being talked about by automakers a number of years ago. Only recently that the required modifications and studies have been able to be completed to make a diesel hybrid truck a reality. However, there are no commercial diesel hybrid trucks on the market at this time.

Mileage Numbers
Squeezing more miles per gallon from every gallon of fuel is the reason that hybrid technology is catching on so well and quickly. The low rpm and torque range where most gasoline powered vehicles are the least efficient is where the electric motors are the strongest. And conversely, the high rpm range where a gasoline powered engine is strongest is where an electric motor is the weakest. The reason for using a diesel engine, which also has the lower rpm range as its strongest, like an electric motor, is used because of its inherent fuel efficiency. The average diesel engine gets approximately 10 to 15 more miles per gallon than a comparable gasoline engine. Adding the added efficiency of sharing the load with an electric motor, and you have a combination that can make 80 to 100 miles per gallon a reality in the not too distant future. Currently, certain automakers have shown numbers in the 60 to 70 miles per gallon range.

For someone looking to create a low carbon dioxide/monoxide footprint, while still driving a truck, a hybrid diesel is what you need to look into. With good power and acceleration, plus excellent fuel mileage, diesel hybrids may become the option of choice.