Hybrid Conversions Could Top 500,000 Units by 2020

 Protean F-150

Experts in the field of alternative powertrain technology are predicting significant growth in the hybrid market for fleet and commercial pickup trucks by 2020 as companies search for new ways to save money. By then, there could be as many as 500,000 converted pickup trucks and cargo vans on the highways.

About six months ago, we drove a Protean prototype F-150 with four electric motors housed inside each rim and found the vehicle impressive and quirky.

"Rising operating costs, shrinking budgets and green mandates are hard to balance when your fleet still has a job to do every day," said Ken Stewart, vice president of Protean Electric. "The time is right for a system that can add the benefits of hybrid technology to light-duty vehicles that are already in service.” 

Most of this new hybrid retrofit market is expected to come from converting light-duty government and commercial fleets, and companies like Protean are poised to step in and fill the need.

Protean says its system can be easily integrated into a broad range of vehicles and can boost fuel economy by more than 30 percent, depending on the size of the battery and the driving cycle. That means fleet owners could get the benefits of a hybrid without the huge upfront costs that go with buying an entirely new vehicle.

Since these vehicles often have a lifecycle of two to six years beyond the normal lifecycle of a retail vehicle, system costs can be amortized over more years after the vehicle is already in service, Protean says.

Protean F-150 rear

Protean’s in-wheel motor produces up to 110 horsewpoer (81 kilowatts), occupies the unused space behind 18-inch aluminum wheels and can be fitted to a conventional rear or beam axle. Since each motor has its own self-contained inverter controller, the system requires less space onboard the vehicle for motor power electronics. Protean drive systems use regenerative braking, and a redundant disc-brake design is being developed to meet all necessary safety requirements.

Systems similar to the Protean model could offer advantages to front-, rear- or four-wheel-drive vehicles that run on gas, diesel or even compressed natural gas, and work in both full-size and compact pickups.


@ oxi I couldn't find any pics to verify your claim. But I'll take your word for it. I can admit when I'm wrong and I apologize for saying your full of crap on that comment. But could you name any others? I got the impression from your post that there are many, many trucks. That one truck, made for a few years, and is no longer being built sure has you worked up. I would think that a zr2 s10 would suit your needs quite well. Shorter, narrower, lighter than your taco, solid ground clearance, independent front suspension. You could buy one used and build it the way you like for cheaper than what you spent on your taco. Maybe you should follow your own advice.

@ JasonH Thanks. I used to own a 93 Wrangler. Was my first vehicle back before I new anything about vehicles. It road like the axles were welded to the frame.

This electric truck would be a great offroader. Look at those axles mounted under the springs, and look at how well tucked in close to the wheel the shocks are .
Add 4,000 lb of skid plates and it will be perfect.

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