Advantages and Disadvantages of Hybrid Trucks

October 31, 2012

Hybrid trucks first came to prevalence in the 2008 model year, with the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra offering hybrid variants. Additionally, the related Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade sport utilities also launched hybrids for the 2008 model year. General Motors remains the sole manufacturer of hybrid trucks and full-size sport utilities.

Whether you are considering a new or a used hybrid truck, you can expect to pay thousands more for a hybrid when compared to a comparable gasoline-powered truck. Although the higher price does buy you higher fuel economy, even the best hybrid offer only a moderate improvement in city fuel economy (40 percent in the case of the Chevy and GMC pickups). Highway fuel economy is nearly the same between hybrid and gasoline-powered trucks.

Advantages
The main advantage of the hybrid truck is better fuel economy. In the case of the Chevy Silverado, the hybrid also has more power, though you can opt for a 5.3L or 6.2L V8 in the truck. These engines cost up to $2,000 extra and can provide up to 403hp/ 417lb-ft. of torque. The hybrid is better for the environment and it pays itself off in several years. According to the EPA, the annual cost of fuel for the hybrid would be $1,850, whereas that of the conventional Silverado is $2,390 (with the 6.2L engine, it can be nearly $3,000). Depending on your circumstances, this benefit may outweigh the disadvantages.

Disadvantages
Unfortunately, since hybrids are fairly recent and there is no "dedicated" hybrid truck, there are several disadvantages to buying a hybrid truck. First of all, initial cost is a major factor in purchasing a vehicle. The hybrid is still about $5,000 more expensive than the non-hybrid Silverado with the optional 6.2L V8. Also, performance is not as strong as the non-hybrid's. The hybrid has a greatly-reduced towing capacity and payload, which is most likely due to the addition of the electric motor and batteries. Therefore, if you are looking for a truck that is a serious workhorse, you want to look at non-hybrid trucks.