The market for hybrid and electric trucks has struggled to expand beyond a narrow niche, according to Navigant Research.
However, a significant number of companies continue to develop hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), and battery electric vehicle (BEV) trucks for a variety of applications, which will push the market forward.
According to a recent report from the group, worldwide sales of hybrid and electric trucks for the commercial market will reach nearly 105,000 by 2020.
“The fleet market tends to be quite conservative, as fleet managers thoroughly examine new technologies prior to adoption,” says Lisa Jerram, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “The key to market sustainability will be to focus only on those applications that provide the greatest payback or other ancillary benefits, and to ensure that the technology is sufficiently reliable for the fleet market.”
HEV trucks are being developed largely for medium-duty trucks for applications that involve a lot of stop-and-go driving and significant annual mileage, while PHEVs are most suitable for trucks that follow relatively short daily routes, where there is a benefit to having the vehicle battery provide power onsite to avoid engine idling.
BEVs are being developed mainly for medium-duty trucks, as the batteries are not well suited for very large truck applications.