Global annual unit sales for hybrid and electric trucks — including light duty trucks used by commercial fleets and all medium and heavy duty on-road trucks — will rise from less than 10,000 in 2013 to more than 100,000 in 2020, according to a Navigant Research report.
The Hybrid and Electric Trucks report says the market experienced a demand surge from 2008 to 2011, even as the broader truck market floundered in the global economic downturn.
This surge was due in part to government stimulus spending and in part to the launch of the plug-in hybrid and battery car market, which spurred interest in these technologies for other vehicle applications. As of 2013, the economic stimulus programs were winding down and hybrid and electric truck deployments had enabled fleets to gain real-world experience with the technologies.
Although many fleets are interested in using these vehicles to support corporate sustainability targets, ultimately most purchasing decisions are driven by cost. Not all applications for hybrid and electric trucks provide sufficient fuel savings to offset the price premium over diesel or gasoline trucks in an acceptable timeframe, the report says. Companies thus need to focus on lowering costs and targeting only those end-user markets where the fuel savings of their technologies are optimized.
Another strategy for success would be to add value beyond the vehicle drive cycle (e.g., by providing vehicle-to-grid services). Without such strategies, the market will continue to rely heavily on government subsidy programs, the report says.
Another Navigant Research Report published last week says the markets for natural gas trucks and buses are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.6 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively, between 2013 and 2022. The natural gas vehicle market experienced a growth spurt in late 2013 driven by lower fuel costs and environmental benefits over diesel, a trend that is expected to continue this year as new engines and vehicles are introduced, according to the analysis.