With environmental concerns increasing exponentially around the world, many automotive firms are directing their research and development towards electric vehicles. By electrifying medium- and heavy-duty (MD/HD) vehicles, a large portion of potential emissions typically created by traditional engines will be eliminated.
Many MD trucks are used in high-strain, stop-and-go conditions, such as for local sanitation services or deliveries. Since their routes are predictable, they are less limited in their recharging ability than trucks such as long haul tractors. The trucks can return to their central depot nightly – or throughout the day – to recharge. In fact, Volvo is set to begin testing their fully electric Mack LR refuse truck on the demanding streets of New York City in 2020.
In It for the Long Haul
HD trucks present a more significant challenge. The demands of freight trucking weigh heavily on vehicles, and a typical diesel tractor may exceed 1,000,000 miles. The wear and tear is less substantial than that seen in MD trucks, but the need for charging throughout cross-country trips is a major limitation. However, many companies with e-commerce operations have begun placing their distribution centers closer to their customers, presenting the opportunity to make effective use of new electric trucks and minimizing the need for charging during the trip.
Buses & Beyond
Electric buses have seen some success in cities throughout the US, though significant limitations still exist. For instance, Albuquerque has had little luck with its recent purchase of $133 million worth of electric buses. The buses have failed to reach their expected mile range due to battery issues that have arisen as a result of the area’s climate.
Other cities have had successful rollouts and are adopting additional technologies to overcome any technical limitations. For example, Chattanooga, Tennessee has installed an inductive charging system for its buses. The system works the same way as a wireless phone charger, using coils in the pavement beneath where the buses stop to create an electromagnetic field that reacts with a second set of coils within the underside of the buses. Such a system helps to overcome battery limitations by maintaining a higher charge throughout the day.
As further technological breakthroughs in battery capacity and vehicle efficiency continue to make their way into MD/HD trucks and buses, expect to see them around cities across the country collecting garbage, running deliveries, and taking people to work every day.
Want to Learn More?
Don’t worry, we have you covered! For additional information and analysis of US industry trends, see Medium- & Heavy-Duty Trucks & Buses: United States, a report published by the Freedonia Focus Reports division of The Freedonia Group. This report forecasts to 2023 US MD/HD truck and bus retail sales, production, and park in units. Total retail sales, production, and park are segmented by product in terms of:
- medium-duty trucks
- heavy-duty trucks
- medium- and heavy-duty buses
In addition, this report forecasts to 2023 MD/HD truck and bus retail sales, production, and park for North America by country in units.
To illustrate historical trends, total retail sales, production, park, and trade are provided in annual series from 2008 to 2018. Historical data are also provided for North America retail sales, production, and park by country.
MD/HD trucks and buses are defined as vehicles in weight classes 4 through 8. MD/HD trucks include special-purpose vehicles (e.g., fire trucks, tow trucks, and garbage trucks) but do not include off-road agricultural, construction, and mining equipment or recreational vehicles. The terms “demand”, “sales”, and “retail sales” are used interchangeably throughout this report. Re-exports of MD/HD trucks and buses are excluded from sales figures.
You can also check out some of our related reports, which include:
About the Author
Chris Dyer is a Market Research Analyst for Freedonia Focus Reports. He holds a Master of Arts in Security Studies, and his experience as an analyst covers multiple industries.