I had the pleasure of getting behind the wheel of a medium-duty hybrid truck and going for a little test drive during the Great American Trucking Show in August.
It looks like a truck, handles like a truck and pulls like a truck.
There’s a noticeable pause in acceleration at around 30 mph, when the engine shifts its function from electric to diesel. The engineer assured me that little snag is being worked out and will be dealt with completely when full-scale production begins.
But that wasn’t even my problem with the hybrid vehicle. This other – definitely more serious problem – will also need to be worked out before full-scale production, if the trucking industry has any hope in saving the world from an environmental disaster.
The problem is the name. Hybrid.
The name – hybrid – makes sense on the surface. It’s the combination of two species of engines: diesel and electric. There’s nothing more unimaginative than naming something by describing it.
And, when it comes down to it, hybrid is just a fancy way of saying mutt.
The truck that is destined to save the environment should have a sleeker name, a purebred name.
Mostly because I lack imagination, but also because it sounds futuristic, the trucking industry should just steal a page from NASCAR marketing and rename all hybrid trucks – Truck of Tomorrow.
Now, I understand NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow was built more for safety reasons than environmental concerns, but the name is still futuristic and fun; and definitely worth a try in the trucking industry.
If there’s a pause in acceleration in a hybrid truck, I’m asking questions and they better get answered. But, if there’s a pause in acceleration in the Truck of Tomorrow, I’m completely fine, it’s futuristic and everything is better in the future.
The only downside, really, is it’s kind of a long name. It’s alright though, in this wonderful world of acronyms we live in today, I’m sure we can all agree to call the new truck TOT – once it catches on of course.
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