Hybrids/Electric Motors in Trucks/SUV's

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111
Location
MN, USA
I've done a few searches but haven't found anything on this yet. I'm wondering why, if electric motors are capable of generating a lot of power, why haven't we seen them in trucks/SUV's or heavy duty applications? Even if it's just a hybrid, with the power generation needed in trucks and 4x4 vehicles, wouldn't hybrids be an obvious choice? Is it: 1) There are mechanical/performance issues w/ electric motors? 2) Or is it more of a marketing thing, in that the typical truck/SUV owner/gearhead isn't viewed as being as open to the hybrid tech? (Yes, I know that's a stereotype. No offense intended.) 3) Maybe it's just easier to test out new technology in lower wear and tear applications such as a passenger car. Thanks.
 
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Messages
2,302
Location
ohio
I'm not sure what you searched, but there are some out there. GM made a Hybrid Tahoe/Yukon/Escalade, and there are a few heavy duty utility/delivery trucks with hybrid power.
 
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1,761
Location
PA
Well there are Hybrid Buses out there...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_electric_bus
 
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6,614
Location
southeast US
Hybrids are about maximum fuel efficiency. Trucks and buses are about maximum utility. Makes sense to start with a small car and strap a small (relatively inexpensive) hybrid system in it. Makes no sense to build heavy duty hybrid, as it tends to be very expensive. Now, mild hybrid systems such as engine start/stop system is a whole different story, gut yield small improvements. The hybrid SUV concept is mostly a luxury thing IMHO.
 

niero

Thread starter
Messages
111
Location
MN, USA
I have seen a few of the Hybrid Tahoes here and there. And Minneapolis has a hybrid bus. I just see a lot more hybrid cars, it looks like more companies are building hybrids. For instance, if they made a full size pickup totally electric, would the electric motor be able to handle the heavy duty work? What sparked the idea is the conversation on another BITOG thread that talks about CVT transmissions still not being able to handle the heavy duty abuse that regular, geared automatic trannies can.
 
Messages
809
Location
Nebraska
IIRC, the limitation isn't the capability of the electric motor. The problem lies in battery capacity and/or economically feasible batteries.
 
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1,981
Location
Greatest Earth on Show, UT
Originally Posted By: strat81
IIRC, the limitation isn't the capability of the electric motor. The problem lies in battery capacity and/or economically feasible batteries.
That would be my assumption. Larger vehicle=larger motors=larger/more batteries=greater weight=diminishing returns. Also, the batteries take up a good bit of room. Not a lot of space on a pickup truck to tuck away a gaggle of batteries without reducing vehicle capabilities (reduced cabin space, ground clearance, and/or bed depth/space. I think hybrid pickups are for prestige/badge purchases and lighter use.
 
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Messages
2,147
Location
Chicago, IL
I think that Hybrids are best suited for stop and go city driving where a lot of energy is wasted decelerating. On the highway at constant speeds, the benefits are less noticeable. A truck that's used for towing duty may not see any benefit at all. A stop and go delivery truck like that Coke truck may see a lot of benefit.
 
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19,686
Location
Sunny Florida
Originally Posted By: niero
I've done a few searches but haven't found anything on this yet. I'm wondering why, if electric motors are capable of generating a lot of power, why haven't we seen them in trucks/SUV's or heavy duty applications?
Motors 'generate' a lot of power, electrics are big on torque at stall. But to do that you must flow a LOT of current. Just can't work well with today's batteries. Maybe tomorrow, there are lots of good things coming...
 
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9,513
Location
Canuck living in California
Originally Posted By: stickybuns
If you don't like batteries/electrics, http://www.nrel.gov/vehiclesandfuels/fleettest/research_hydraulic.html This is an effective way to add energy accumulation and storage, no batteries at all.
I started a thread few years ago about UPS using hydraulic hybrids, but it got little attention and most responses were to the tune "if hydraulic hybrids were better, automakers would develop them". Of course those people have a hard time understanding that for general public, automakers will make what brings in the biggest profits, government subsidies or both and not what is the best or cheapest for the end user. Hydraulic hybrid is not without issues, but it sure looks like a much better option than electric hybrids, hence commercial users are interested.
 
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Messages
1,051
Location
New Zealand
Originally Posted By: KrisZ
UPS using hydraulic hybrids... Hydraulic hybrid is not without issues, but it sure looks like a much better option than electric hybrids, hence commercial users are interested.
I recall the EPA came up with the idea for the UPS trucks to use off-the-shelf hydrostatic drive components, which of course are widely used for mechanical power transmission and storage for earth movers and are relatively cheap (but heavy.) But those industrial components have relatively high power losses and I think that may become more significant at smaller sizes. Electric systems on the other hand scale well over the required range. For example the Prius has hundreds of small rechargeable cells, a truck would have thousands. Most important though, it's the availability of low-cost high-power semiconductors that make efficient electric drive systems possible, especially on the Prius (and cousins) where they also provide a variable gearing function in conjunction with the two motors. The future really is electric. Looks what's happened to hobby RC cars and aircraft over the last 15 years in terms of power to weight ratio.
 
Messages
19,686
Location
Sunny Florida
Originally Posted By: KrisZ
Originally Posted By: stickybuns
If you don't like batteries/electrics, http://www.nrel.gov/vehiclesandfuels/fleettest/research_hydraulic.html This is an effective way to add energy accumulation and storage, no batteries at all.
I started a thread few years ago about UPS using hydraulic hybrids, but it got little attention and most responses were to the tune "if hydraulic hybrids were better, automakers would develop them". Of course those people have a hard time understanding that for general public, automakers will make what brings in the biggest profits, government subsidies or both and not what is the best or cheapest for the end user. Hydraulic hybrid is not without issues, but it sure looks like a much better option than electric hybrids, hence commercial users are interested.
Been watching these also, for large trucks going short hops these work very well with an extremely small and efficient engine to re-pressurize them occasionally. Makes great sense, but flies in the face of all the marketing of 'green' which only likes electrification...
 
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