For many companies, fuel is a huge overhead factor that drives up the cost of doing business. So it should come as no surprise that hybrid commercial vehicles could be the biggest growing hybrid market, according to a new survey.
The study, by Pike Research, says that even though there were just 9,000 such hybrid commercial vehicles sold in 2010, by 2015 the market could increase to 100,000 annually. That’s a tenfold increase in just five years. Why?
Rising fuel costs and a contracting economy means that for many businesses, a few mpg’s can mean the difference between bankruptcy and staying in the black. Plus, as hybrid vehicle technology improves, the prices go down, meaning the payback period from initial purchase is shrinking. After a certain point, the extra cost of the hybrid system pays for itself, and from then on out, the extra fuel saved is pure profit.
When a company buys a vehicle, generally they hold on to it as long as possible, meaning these cars can see hundreds of thousands of miles. Some companies, like UPS and even government agencies like the USPS are already experimenting with different fuels and drivetrains.The study took account for five different kinds of hybrid and electric vehicles, including plug-in, battery electric, hydraulic hybrid, and “mild” hybrids. While hybrid and electric personal cars might take longer to catch on, businesses are starting to see fuel efficient and alt-fuel vehicles as a way to not just improve their image, but to save them money too.
Makes perfect sense to me, but will the hybrid market really grow that big, that fast?
Source: Pike Research Image: UPS
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to Hemis. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.