Peterbilt launches hybrid truck production

Peterbilt has begun production of medium-duty hybrid trucks, delivering two production Model 335 hybrid diesel-electric trucks to Napa, Calif.-based VinLux Fine Wine Transport, a joint venture between warehousing and transportation company Biagi Bros. Inc. and Jackson Family Estates. The company will operate the trucks in urban locales like San Francisco, where frequent stopping will maximize regenerative braking and, therefore, the fuel economy benefits of hybrids.

The Class 7 Model 335 uses Eaton’s hybrid-electric power system in conjunction with an electric motor that assists the Paccar PX-6 engine with supplemental torque for improved fuel economy. The system stores energy during stopping through a process called regenerative braking, and then reuses it for acceleration.

“Our medium-duty hybrid vehicles have proven to not only provide a 30 to 50 percent increase in fuel efficiency, depending upon the application, but also dramatically reduce tailpipe emissions of hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen,” said Bill Jackson, general manager of Denton, Texas-based Peterbilt.

“We’re committed to going green and protecting the California environment, and the Peterbilt Hybrids are a perfect solution for us,” said Fred Biagi, owner of VinLux Fine Wine Transport. Although the hybrid system represents a 40 percent premium over a conventional Model 335, the high price of diesel, along with federal tax credits, means that VinLux can realize a return on investment in as little as two years, Biagi says.

The tax credit, currently available through 2009, is up to $12,000 for the Class 7 335 hybrid and up to $6,000 for the Class 6 330 hybrid.

In a related development, Peterbilt announced a demonstration tour to allow prospective hybrid customers in the United States and Canada to evaluate the 2009 Model 330 and 335 hybrids for applications such as utility, pickup-and-delivery and dump trucks. For more information, visit