Retail giant Wal-Mart has taken delivery of its (and the industry's) first hybrid Class 8 big rig. The Peterbilt Model 386 Hybrid is the result of a partnership between Peterbuilt and Eaton, latter of which was tasked with developing the truck's hybrid system. There are no surprises in how it works. Braking energy is recovered and stored in the batteries, which in turn power an electric generator/motor that's used to supply added punch, increase range, and, in certain situations, allow the rig to operate on battery power alone. The batteries also supply power to the truck's electrical and accessory systems, and the projected fuel cost savings to owners is around $9,000 annually based on the current price of diesel.

The Model 386 Hybrid will continue to be tested and evaluated while it serves in Wal-Mart's truck fleet, helping Peterbilt refine the vehicle and its aerodynamics ahead of its full market launch, which is expected in 2009. Wal-Mart will likely be there, checkbook in hand, as increasing fleet efficiency by 25 percent is one of the planks inthe retailer's new "Sustainability 360" platform.

UPDATE: Gallery of Peterbilt's hybrid offerings added below.
Related GalleryPeterbilt Hybrid Trucks
Peterbilt Model 386 HybridPeterbilt Model 386 HybridPeterbilt Model 335 HybridPeterbilt Model 330 Hybrid

[Source: The Pete Store via Wired.]