BOULDER, CO - The global economic recession has taken a huge toll on medium-duty (MD) and heavy-duty (HD) truck sales in many regions. At the same time, the precipitous rise of oil prices has sent diesel fuel costs to near record highs in many countries.

With the world economy improving, albeit slowly, overall truck purchases are expected to rise this year. Meanwhile, truck manufacturers have responded by expanding their offerings of alternative drivetrains to help reduce emissions and fuel usage by trucks. This should lead to a year of strong growth for hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric medium and heavy duty trucks. According to a new report from Pike Research, the worldwide market for hybrids and plug-ins will grow at 92 percent in 2012, with total sales surpassing 19,000.

Going forward, the cleantech market intelligence firm expects the market to experience a compound annual growth rate of 47.2 percent between 2011 and 2017, reaching 100,746 truck sales by the end of that period.

"The performance of specific economic sectors will play a big role in the growth of electric drivetrains for trucks," says senior analyst Dave Hurst. "For example, as the retail industry rebounds, pick-up and delivery vehicle sales will rebound with it. This in turn will have a positive impact on the hybrid, plug-in, and battery electric truck markets, as well."

Driving sales of these vehicles will be fleet owners' desire to demonstrate that their vehicles are more environmentally friendly than competitors' fleets and government emission regulations that have a bottom-line cost impact on fleet operators. At the same time, the accelerating spread of alternative fuel vehicles will pose significant competition for growth in hybrid and electric trucks, especially given the latter's relatively high upfront costs. Natural gas, in particular, is growing in heavy applications (such as transit buses and Class 8 trucks), where the high cost of hybrid and plug-in vehicles remains a significant hurdle. In 2012, this trend is likely to continue, particularly in European and developing Asian markets.

Pike Research's report, "Hybrid Medium and Heavy Duty Trucks", examines the opportunities and challenges in the market for hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric medium and heavy-duty trucks. The report provides a comprehensive assessment of the different drivetrains, battery technologies, and key drivers of market growth. The report explores global government regulations regarding diesel emissions and vehicle purchase incentives and includes detailed forecasts through 2017. Key market players are also profiled. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm's website.

Pike Research is a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets. The company's research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Smart Grid, Smart Transportation, Smart Industry, and Smart Buildings sectors. For more information, visit