The commercial EV segment remains a fledgling market with a handful of standouts like the buses from BYD and Renault Kangoo ZE, but otherwise electric vehicles still exist primarily for the light-duty, passenger market. As governments strive to increase efficiency, this might start to change, though. A recently released study from Navigant Research predicts global growth in this market over the coming years, and total sales could crest 805,000 from 2014 through 2023.

"Recent innovation in the electric drive medium/heavy duty segment has the possibility to offer significant benefits for commercial applications," David Alexander, a Navigant Research senior research analyst, said in the study's announcement. Possible developments like London's Ultra Low Emission Zone are expected to boost demand, and this data suggests that annual sales of pure electric and electrically-assisted work vehicles could jump from fewer than 16,000 in 2014 to about 160,000 in 2023.

The study finds one of the major hurdles to commercial adoption of this fuel-saving tech is the reluctance of fleet managers to purchase them. While EVs obviously offer advantages, these folks have a business to run and want a vehicle that shows a return on investment within three years.
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Sales of Electric Trucks and Buses for Commercial Applications Are Expected to Total More than 805,000 from 2014 to 2023

April 27, 2015

Fleet managers target payback periods of less than 3 years for alternative drivetrains, report finds

A recent report from Navigant Research analyzes the global market for commercial vehicles that use electric drive vehicle technology, including global market forecasts for sales and the number of vehicles in use through 2023.

Although medium and heavy duty vehicles represent just a fraction of all vehicles on roadways today, they contribute significantly to road transportation sector fuel consumption and carbon emissions. However, electric drive vehicles-with improved fuel efficiency, technological advances, and an alternative to gasoline and diesel fuels-are beginning to make inroads in this segment as commercial and government fleet operators consider investing in greener vehicles. Click to tweet: According to a recent report from Navigant Research, sales of electric trucks and buses are expected to total more than 805,000 from 2014 to 2023.

"Recent innovation in the electric drive medium/heavy duty segment has the possibility to offer significant benefits for commercial applications," says David Alexander, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. "For example, some hybrid electric vehicles have drive cycles specifically designed for stop-start traffic, and many plug-in electric vehicles can use onboard electrical energy to replace idling diesel engines or provide temporary power to buildings or tools at remote sites."

Despite these advances, most fleet managers are more concerned with the return on investment than with the technology and are targeting a payback term of less than 3 years, according to the report. While incentives can help to lower the initial investment, managers look at the overall cost of running a fleet for multiple years, considering the effect of introducing new technology on the fleet as a whole and not just replacing a single vehicle with a different one.

The report, "Electric Drive Trucks and Buses," analyzes the global market for commercial vehicles that use electric drive vehicle technology in three main segments: hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Forecasts for the two hybrid segments fueled partly by petroleum derivatives (PHEVs and HEVs) are broken out by region and by fuel: gasoline or diesel. Global market forecasts for sales and the number of vehicles in use, segmented by country, drivetrain, and liquid fuel, extend through 2023. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.


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