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Electric Trucks Market – A Long Road Ahead

Published On : 2018-06-11

As national and local governments impose stricter emissions norms for commercial vehicle, they also intend to look for options to invest into all electric powertrain technologies for medium and heavy commercial vehicles. Powertrain suppliers are staging to offer all electric, hybrid or alternative powertrains for niche applications. Advances in technology and experience in bus powertrain technology can be transferred to trucks. Electric cars on the other hand has helped stimulate investment in battery technology thus reducing battery pack cost. Research and developments in solid state battery units is further going to boost the market for electric powertrain vehicles.

The major driver of the electric truck market is the cost parity of these trucks with its diesel counterparts. As soon the electric trucks have lower total cost of ownership than their diesel alternatives, fleet owners are expected to switch their preferences. Additionally, electrification readiness of infrastructure that includes availability of charging points in the market is further going to drive the market for electric trucks. However, national and local regulations are creating a supportive environment for electric trucks by implementing stricter emission norms and bans on diesel vehicles. However, availability of cheaper and extended range battery packs is acting as a challenge for the electric truck market.

The insights and reports analysis predicts that the majority of electric trucks can reach cost parity with their diesel-counterparts in the coming 10 years, assuming a continuous improvement in battery power density and cost. The most effective application in terms of cost seems to be going for electric powertrain for light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment that runs a somewhat constant distance of 100 - 200 kilometer per day, which is an adequate range but evades battery costs as they are too high. The LCV is expected to reach cost parity with diesel trucks in Europe at present for regional application and by the year 2021 for urban application. For instance, job like small retail delivery and parcel delivery, it is rational to see electric trucks as soon they hit the market.

howeverThe heavy duty truck (HDT) segments will be the last to reach parity, with 2027 for at-scale regional applications in Europe. Other regions and applications will reach cost parity beyond 2030.

Regional characteristics decide the diverse timing of reaching cost parity in China, the U.S. and Europe. In the U.S., cost parity of operating electric trucks would require more time than in Europe, because of local energy prices which is lower differential in price between electricity and diesel, additionally grander requirements of battery due to different driving dynamics such as higher loading and average speeds are the factors challenging the adoption of electric trucks in the U.S. it is expected that China would be further behind in time for reaching the cost parity, owing to the availability of low-priced diesel powertrain trucks.

The other challenges of coming up with electric trucks is charging infrastructure. It is anticipated that early adopters of electric trucks will mostly charge their trucks overnight at their own warehouses or depots. Thus, reducing the dependent on public charging infrastructure. Bigger battery sizes would be demanded to meet the daily range of truck travel. Once electric trucks become common in the near decade the roll out of charging infrastructure is expected along the highways and distribution centers to help aid at refueling during long haul.