Navigant: Commercial Vehicle Market Slower to Adopt Alternative Fuels

Though the passenger vehicle market is showing signs of making the transition from conventional engines powered by gasoline or diesel, the commercial vehicle market has seen slower progress, according to a new analysis from Navigant Research.

The firm says the truck and bus markets continue to attract attention from governments that aim to encourage or require a transition from gasoline- or diesel-powered engines. The benefits of conventional diesel in certain truck and bus applications in terms of cost, reliability and efficiency, as well as the ready availability of fueling options, set a high bar for alternatives, says Navigant. Fleets must focus on total cost of ownership and reliability and are thus slower to embrace unproven technologies, according to the report.

However, alternative fuels and propulsion technologies still continue to make progress in both the truck and bus markets. Electric drive options have shown the most rapid growth in recent years, and the commercial vehicle sector has benefited from the investments made to improve lithium-ion battery technology. Growth in hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid and battery electric drivetrains is expected to chip away at the sales of diesel and gasoline trucks and buses, albeit at a slow pace, according to Navigant.

Furthermore, the report says natural gas will continue to capture market share but will struggle to inspire significant infrastructure investment. Similarly, propane autogas is likely to be limited to a handful of markets that have embraced this fuel.

More on the report, “Transportation Forecast: Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicles,” can be found here.

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