PHOTO CAPTION: Frito-Lay was among first of US fleets to utilize all-electric delivery trucks, these from Kansas City-based Smith Electric Vehicles.

E-Drive Truck Market Forecast to Grow Ten-Fold

From current global sales in 2014 estimated at 16,000 units, Navigant Research is forecasting the market for medium duty electric trucks to grow to ten-fold by 2023.

Published: 29-Jan-2015

Navigant Research is forecasting that the global market for medium and heavy duty electric vehicles will grow from some 16,000 sold in 2014 to upwards of 160,000 by 2023, a ten-fold increase.

The reasons for this growth have to do with "environmental concerns that are pushing commercial and government fleet operators to consider investing in fuel efficiency technologies and alternative fuels," they report.

Besides all-electric models, manufacturers and fleet operators are trialing plug-in hybrids and hybrid-assist models; each successively relying more on higher energy density liquid fuels, respectively.

Which type operators turn to depends largely on the duty cycle of their fleet. Studies by George Tech have demonstrated that all-electric models offer lower operating costs, as well as fewer emissions under the right conditions. They note:

“On average in the United States, electric urban delivery trucks use about 30 percent less total energy and emit about 40 percent less greenhouse gases than diesel trucks, for about the same total cost, taking into account both the purchase price and the operating costs."

In an earlier study, Navigant looked at the e-Truck market in the USA and concluded that the 'sweet spot' duty cycle for a medium duty electric truck would fit the following scenario:

• Return-to-base operation, where the vehicle returns at end of shift for overnight charging.

• Fixed route, within 40 to 80 miles round trip.

• A lot of stop-and-start driving to allow for regenerative braking.

• Diminishing load, where the truck gets lighter after each delivery, helping extend vehicle range.

• Lower-speed operation (usually below 60 mph) to preserve battery power.

Navigant projected that sales in this segment sales "to reach 2,500 to 3,500 units per year by 2020, comprising 1 to 3 percent of the overall U.S. medium-duty truck market."

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