Planet Gore

Green Trucks Stall

The green truck future. . . has been cancelled.

Introduced to much fanfare in 2009, Government Motors — er, General Motors — quietly killed the Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid pickup this week when it unveiled its new, redesigned, 2014 pickup lineup.

“There wasn’t enough volume to justify the investment,” a GM spokesman told Fox News. But Washington loved it! The media raved about it! Its sister SUV, the 2008 Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, won Truck of the Year at the December, 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show!

“This is a milestone in many respects,” said Green Car Journal editor Ron Cogan of the truck hybrid’s 21 MPG rating. “The importance of GM’s accomplishment can’t be overstated.”

“GM promised they would use hybrid technology and use it where it would make the most difference, on their biggest vehicles,” added Carl Pope, Sierra Club executive director and a Los Angeles judge. “They have delivered.”

But the media market and the consumer market are two different worlds. In the real world, trucks have to sell.

And consumers have ignored Chevy’s lineup of trucks as too little bang for the buck.

The $42K Silverado Hybrid sold for a whopping $9,000 more than the 16 MPG gas-powered pickup (meaning the conventional truck only costs $600 more for fuel each year — assuming 10,000 mile annual mileage — even at $4 gas. Do the math).

The Silverado Hybrid sold just 1000 copies last year (a paltry percentage of total, 415,000 Silverado sales) — down from 1900 when it was introduced in 2009. The Tahoe Hybrid (still available, for now) is also running out of gas — selling just 500 last year (80,000 gas-powered Tahoes sold) compared to 4,600 in 2008.

“Price, we think, will be the fulcrum on which these hybrid trucks’ fate balances,” wrote a Car & Driver review almost as an afterthought in 2008. “Too expensive, and these will become just as much of a footnote to green history.” Price is a factor? Stop the presses.

Like most hybrids — the total hybrid-electric market continues to struggle at just 3 percent market share despite dozens of offerings over the last decade — Chevy’s hybrids are major headlines in the press, and footnotes on consumer wish lists.


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