Hooniverse Asks: Will the diesel truck disappear anytime soon?

The days of the diesel passenger car are certainly numbered. How about for trucks though? Diesel is still used in large numbers in the three-quarter and one-ton truck segments. And for commercial trucks larger than that, it’s all but a certainty. Still, times are changing. Batteries are becoming more efficient and electric motors deliver instant torque in huge numbers. Are the days of the diesel truck now numbered?

I’m not saying I expect to see an overnight switch to electric trucks. I do think that automakers could be working on hybrid gas-electric trucks, however, which could deliver the numbers that truck owners demand. Smaller displacement gasoline-drinking engines paired with powerful battery/motor combos could be a positive solution for those that routinely tow and haul.

There are areas of Europe looking to ban diesel-powered vehicles from major urban areas. Diesel is nearly dead on the car side of things, despite some recent new arrivals (Mazda CX-5, Jeep Wrangler). Perhaps full-size trucks won’t be far behind this trend. I’m sure this is akin to sacrilege for some truck lovers. But it’s certainly a question worth pondering.

Is the diesel truck going to die off in the not-too-distant future?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

9 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: Will the diesel truck disappear anytime soon?”

  1. I_Borgward Avatar

    Maybe when the IRS quits looking the other way when they’re purchased for personal use but written off as a business expense? Sweet land o’ subsidy!

    1. Zentropy Avatar

      Very relevant point. Happens far too often.

  2. Maymar Avatar

    I think the diesel truck is only as endangered as any ICE engine, because there are a few applications where nothing else will do (for now). That said, I think a lot of fleet applications are taking a hard look at just how much capability they need, and deciding that the numbers favour the gasoline-powered option (plus, as noted, Europe has taken a complete 180 on their stance on diesels, which will take away one of the biggest factors in its popularity).

  3. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    It’s a complex question based on both the mission of the vehicle and the local tax and regulatory environment. Diesel cars were popular in Europe partly because of high fuel cost and partly because you could evade some of those costs by illegally using “red diesel”. The ban in diesels in urban areas will probably lead to electric or hybrid vehicles for urban and suburban use,supplanting the small diesels.

    In the US, diesel is often more expensive per gallon, but the higher efficiency pays off long term. The US market is skewed toward heavier vehicles because of the “Hummer subsidy” so a change in the tax code could kill the market for bro dozers.

    I don’t see hybrid drive trains working in tow haul applications, particularly long distance work. Since there is a need for constant high power they battery is likely to drain so tow/haul will be either pure ICE or pure electric. Hybrid works best in stop start operation like buses or garbage trucks where there is plenty of regenerative braking.

  4. crank_case Avatar

    Depends as to why Gasoline engines would be seen as better for trucks?

    The main backlash against diesel is to do with local pollution – particulates, NOx etc. which chiefly is a concern vehicles driven in urban areas. If you’re Arsendofnowhere, Montana, not really an issue. If anything, the Gasoline engine is ecologically worse by virtue of being less efficient and therefore having higher CO2.

    The obvious answer, aside from full electric would be a plug in diesel hybrid with enough electric range for driving in towns and cities and then use the low revving, thermally efficent diesel out on the highway. Perhaps not even driving the wheels but more like a generator. This gets round towing/complex transmission issues as only the motors are connected to the wheels not the engine, and hey if pretty much the same setup allows a locomotive to pull an entire train, I think it’ll be grand for whatever a truck needs to tow.

  5. Wayne Moyer Avatar
    Wayne Moyer

    I can’t see them totally replacing gas in RV’s. I own a gas class A RV and it just isn’t enough. Now a hybrid could fit the bill. Since it would only be needed for take off maybe. So maybe I’m killing my own argument.

    1. crank_case Avatar

      Hybrid RV would have a lot of area for solar panels and the battery capacity could be hand for power without needing the motor, lot of upsides to it.

      1. Wayne Moyer Avatar
        Wayne Moyer

        They have RV’s with solar panels on the roof now.

        1. crank_case Avatar

          Exactly, it’s just a case of leveraging that into a hybrid drivetrain. It kinda seems to me that a lot of what would make it make sense is in place already.

%d bloggers like this: