Global annual sales of medium- and heavy-duty trucks are expected to grow from about 31,000 vehicles in 2016 to nearly 332,000 by 2026, according to a new report from Navigant Research.
The report, which forecasts sales of medium- and heavy-duty trucks for each major world region through 2026, is segmented by electrified powertrain type, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell.
As local and national governments impose stricter emissions targets for commercial vehicles, they are also looking for ways to incentivize fleets to invest in medium- and heavy-duty fuel efficiency technologies, as well as cleaner-burning fuels.
Though conventional diesel-powered vehicles are becoming cleaner and more efficient, the added initial and operating costs associated with these changes are helping to reduce the incremental cost of moving to electric-assisted and all-electric powertrains, notes the report.
“New and established suppliers are starting to offer alternative powertrains, as well as complete electric vehicles, for niche applications,” says David Alexander, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “Limited daily range and a drive cycle featuring a lot of stopping and starting are applications that benefit most from electric-drive capabilities, and delivery and refuse collection vehicles are expected to be the primary targets in the short term.”
According to the report, technology advances and production experience in the bus market can be transferred readily to trucks, and the growing demand for electric cars has stimulated investment in battery manufacture that has resulted in falling battery pack costs.
However, even with these positive factors, electric-drive trucks are still expected to remain a niche market – at around 5% of sales in 2026.