California Tests Hybrid Heavy-Duty Earth Movers

Consumer hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight do a great deal to limit the emissions footprints of the people who drive them. But when you take gas-electric technologies and put them into heavy duty vehicles like earth movers, the resulting emissions savings can equal that of 14 Priuses over the course of a year. During that time, the average passenger car uses an average of 547 gallons of fuel, while the average heavy-duty vehicle burns through nearly 13,000 gallons—so even the 20-25 percent fuel efficiency gains typical of hybrid earth movers can really add up.

According to The New York Times Wheels Blog, the state of California is readying emissions testing for six heavy-duty diesel hybrids next year, as part of a $2 million study conducted by the University of California Riverside. The state is looking to understand how emissions tests of different heavy-duty operations in simulated work environments can be pieced together to formulate a reliable emissions estimate for those vehicles. The California Air Resources Board will also finance incentives for hybrid construction equipment as part of the program, paying for about half of the added cost of the machinery.

Earlier this year, the White House announced the first ever fuel economy standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks falling into three categories: combination tractors, heavy-duty pickups and vans and vocational vehicles like buses and RVs. According to the federal government, fleet operators and other truck owners will save a total of $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of the program. Earth movers and other off-road diesels aren’t covered under the EPA rules, but according to the Wheels Blog, California may adopt its own set of standards to help in its quest to reduce overall emissions in the state by 80 percent by 2050.


  • Max Reid

    Yes, all such heavy vehicles that are in daily use like Earthmovers, Rail Yard Switchers, Dump Trucks & Postal Trucks should be converted to Hybrid or even battery powered.

    BYD is running eBus-12 bus which has 150 mile range in China.

  • MrEnergyCzar

    If you improve an 18 wheeler’s MPG from 10 to 7, that’s a huge improvement that is often overlooked as well…..

    MrEnergyCzar

  • AP

    It makes a lot of sense for low-speed or stop-and-go vehicles to go hybrid, so the electric motor(s) and IC engine can “fill in” for each other. Electric motors are really good at producing torque at low speed, and engines can use fuel to make power w/o having to carry a big battery.

    For long-haul trucks, hybrids are actually LESS efficient, because its less efficient to transfer the engine’s power to the axles through a generator/motor pair than through a conventional transmission.

  • JJJSpawn

    Straight batteries probably won’t be the answer for something like this. Maybe Fuel Cells somewhere between SOFC (Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell) or DMFC (Direct methanol Fuel Cell) could be used. If they pick the right one, they may not even need to change fuel type or even better can switch to using vice diesel. Latter part not very likely any time soon anyway.

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  • danish

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    In a series hybrid bicycle (SH) the user powers a generator using the pedals. This is converted into electricity and can be fed directly to the motor giving a chainless bicycle but also to charge a battery. The motor draws power from the battery and must be able to deliver the full mechanical torque required because none is available from the pedals. SH bicycles are commercially available, because they are very simple in theory and manufacturing. truck driving jobs

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  • bradleymartin

    This one has an opening jaw and is very versatile at the working site. It is used for multi purpose as it can be adjusted and used as a loading and garbing machine. It is areal great machine to move earth. déménagement montréal