You may never have thought of the small town of Denton, Texas, a suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth, as an epi-center of the environmental movement. Heck, you may not have ever thought of Denton, Texas period. These days, though, Denton and one of the largest companies headquartered there, Peterbilt Inc., are doing their best to change your way of thinking.
Peterbilt Inc., a division of PACCAR Inc., is rolling out a new line of hybrid commercial trucks - the Class 6 Model 330, for short-haul work, and the Class 7 Model 335, for utility operations. Before being introduced to the greater public, Peterbilt signed with their hometown to provide these green trucks to the city of Denton, putting the suburb at the head of the green game.
The Model 330 weighs about 26,000 pounds and does not require a commercial driver's license. Thanks to the unique Eaton Hybrid Power system (which captures energy during routine driving situations and stores it to be later applied as electric torque, which mixes with the engine's torque), the 330 has 30% better fuel efficiency than a comparable standard diesel-powered truck. Overall, the 260 horse-power, PACCAR PX-6 engine in the 330 can create up to 860 pounds of torque.
Meanwhile, the Model 335 weighs in at 33,000 pounds and is great for beverage distribution, pick-up, delivery, and utility operations. The Eaton Hybrid Power system, working with the Power Take-Off system (which captures energy as the engine idles) allow this model to save over 50% in fuel costs when compared to a comparable diesel-only truck. This truck also employs the PACCAR PX-6 engine and both models use lithium-ion batteries.
The pay-offs for these trucks aren't just environmental, owners save in fuel costs as well as on their taxes. A $6,000 tax credit is given for the Model 330 and a $12,000 tax credit is given for the Model 335. The environmental savings, though, are significant with fewer emissions also being a result of the hybrid technology - less hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide and nitrogen are released into the air with these two Peterbilt trucks.
Last week, these trucks were introduced to the world beyond Denton, Texas at the Medium Duty Hybrid Demonstration Tour in Napa Valley, California, put on by Peterbilt. Response was good and as fuel costs rise and the environment continues to be a growing concern; we can expect to see more hybrid vehicles by Peterbilt and others in the industry to enter the marketplace.
Jeff Carey is a green vehicle enthusiast who manages a portfolio of more than 60 hybrid and electric blogs. Learn more and subscribe to his monthly newsletter at http://www.hybridkingdom.com.