Electric trucks are on the way and here’s why
The movement to electrify passenger vehicles is the subject of much press. But electrification is also coming to the commercial vehicle market.
According to ACT Research, commercial electric vehicles – or what it calls CEVs – will account for nearly 40% of the Class 4-8 truck population in the United States and Canada over the next 15 years.
ACT Research also predicts that by 2040, nearly 320,000 of the 750,000 utility vehicles projected to operate in North America will be VECs.
I recently met ACT research analyst Jim Meil, who discussed the factors driving this expansion, what types of trucks are best suited for electrification, why CEVs attract certain fleets and Moreover.
MTD: ACT reports that commercial electric vehicles will reach nearly 40% of the Class 4-8 truck market by 2035. What is driving this growth?
Meil: The main factor in gaining market share is the rapid fall in battery costs. We forecast a decline of about a third over the next 10 years, which will improve the business case for electric vehicles. In addition, policy measures that will tip the playing field in favor of electrification (emission requirements nationwide and in states and provinces – California, in particular) will push some of the this gain of share.
MTD: Which class of trucks is experiencing the fastest growth in electric models?
Meil: We believe that classes 6 to 7 will lead the way in terms of share and volume gains, with more than 70% market share by 2035 to 2040, which will translate into nearly 130,000 vehicles of the classes 6 to 7 at the extreme reach of our .. 20 year horizon. Many aspects that pave the way for electrification fit well with Class 6-7 applications – to name just two: urban pickup and delivery (and) school buses.
MTD: Why are fleets adopting commercial EVs? What is the compelling proposition?
Meil: First, fuel savings as efficient electric motors will surpass their internal combustion engine counterparts in this dimension in many cases. Second, the simpler powertrain of an electric vehicle will result in service, maintenance and uptime advantages over the more complicated internal combustion engine.
MTD: What are the obstacles to a more widespread acceptance of electric trucks by fleets and how will these obstacles decrease over the next few years?
Meil: Part of the problem right now is product availability. The release of the first production models from the factory and into dealerships lagged behind personal vehicles. The utility vehicle market is driven more by financial P&L and ROI factors than the consumer market, where consumer choice, tastes, status and trend come into play. Additionally, utility vehicle operators tend to not be on the cutting edge. They don’t like to be the first to move.
Earlier this month, MTD spoke with representatives from various truck tire manufacturers, who commented on the challenges that electric trucks pose to the design and construction of truck tires. You can read this article here.
Most recently, we spoke with an executive from Daimler Trucks North America about the progress that company has made on the electric truck front.
The passenger car fleet will likely electrify sooner than commercial trucks. But we will continue to monitor the electrification of the commercial truck market, as developments there could have a significant impact on your business, especially if truck tires are your bread and butter.