NAPA, CA – Peterbilt has begun production of medium-duty hybrid trucks, delivering two production Model 335 hybrid diesel-electric trucks to VinLux Fine Wine Transport of Napa, Calif., a joint venture of Biagi Bros. and Jackson Family Estates. The company will operate the trucks in cities such as San Francisco, where frequent stopping will maximize regenerative braking and, therefore, the fuel economy benefits of hybrids, according to

The Class 7 Model 335 uses Eaton’s hybrid-electric power system with an electric motor that assists the Paccar PX-6 engine with supplemental torque for improved fuel economy. The system stores energy during stopping through a process called regenerative braking, then reuses it for acceleration.

Although the hybrid version costs 40 percent more than a regular Model 335, federal tax credits and the high price of diesel mean that VinLux can realize a return on investment in as little as two years. The tax credit, currently available through 2009, is up to $12,000 for the Class 7 335 hybrid and up to $6,000 for the Class 6 330 hybrid.

In a related development, Peterbilt announced a demonstration tour to allow prospective hybrid customers in the United States and Canada to evaluate the 2009 Model 330 and 335 hybrids for applications such as utility, pickup-and-delivery, and dump trucks. For more information, visit