2018 is the Year for Electric Commercial Trucks

2018 is the Year for Electric Commercial TrucksNewly-released research from Interact Analysis is showing a rise in demand for electric vehicles, especially in the commercial trucking market. After analyzing the steady stream of orders for electrified trucks and buses worldwide, the market research company’s study found that more than 15,000 orders are already confirmed worldwide for delivery between now and 2021.

The company’s research director, Alastair Hayfield, said, “Costs are coming down and emissions standards around the world are getting harder to meet with diesel engines,” and it all adds up to “significant growth in hybrid and fully electric commercial vehicles for the next five years.”

According to the study, the United States and China are leading the march toward adoption of electric and hybrid commercial vehicles, with the U.S. responsible for 60 percent of orders and China coming in second with 23.7 percent.

Battery-electric or hydrogen?

China has ordered a large number of domestically-produced hydrogen fuel cell trucks and buses, as has South Korea, which plans to replace all of its gas-powered public buses with fuel cell buses by 2030. Interact’s study also showed about 10,000 reservations for Class 8 trucks (heavy duty trucks like tractor-trailers) from the Nikola and Tesla companies, with most of them Nikola fuel cell models.

Why the current rush toward hydrogen fuel cell vehicles? Hayfield believes this is actually an anomaly and battery-electric will be the standard for the next few years. “The overall trend will be dominated by battery-electric technology. The numbers are skewed toward hydrogen now just because of the initial burst of Nikola orders,” he said. “There is a fairly good future for hydrogen after 2024, because it is a good solution for long-range needs. But battery technology is relatively mature now and costs are coming down, so it makes a lot of sense for many truck and bus uses to favor battery electric over fuel cells.”

Nikola will begin production on its hydrogen fuel cell trucks next year, with testing currently underway. They have already received orders from Anheuser-Busch and U.S. Xpress. With prototypes of its electric semi-truck already public, Tesla has received orders from UPS and PepsiCo. Elon Musk says production on Tesla’s Class 8 trucks will begin sometime next year.

Is diesel dead?

As battery technology comes down in price, and the cost of diesel fluctuates, electric and hybrid trucks may make more sense for the long term. With the explosion of online commerce—to which there seems to be no end in sight—we need more trucks on the road, and adding more diesel trucks negatively affects air quality.

Diesel may not be dead, but with the worldwide push for low- or zero-emissions vehicles, diesel trucks may soon begin to find themselves outnumbered.

The South Carolina truck accident lawyers at McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC are here to help if you’re injured in an accident with a tractor-trailer. No matter whether the truck is an older model or a newer model, diesel or electric, if you’re injured due to someone else’s carelessness, you may be eligible for compensation for your losses. Call us today at 803-327-7800 or complete our contact form.