Mercedes recently revealed its eActros electric truck.  Picture: DAIMLER
Mercedes recently revealed its eActros electric truck. Picture: DAIMLER

The electric vehicle market is accelerating with a focus on cars, but there is also much activity in the commercial vehicle sector.

Tesla stole the headlines when it revealed its electric Semi, but Daimler has the Mercedes-Benz eActros and the Fuso e-Canter. Volvo Trucks is about to begin trials with its electric truck solution and there are multiple smaller options in the van market.

Research firm Frost and Sullivan has released its latest analysis of the electric truck market and says the global light/medium/heavy-duty hybrid and full electric truck segments are expected to achieve annual sales of 2.25-million units by 2025.

Just as with the car market, the company says China will lead the electrification of powertrains and contribute 60% of global sales. Key factors like a policy shift toward electric powertrains, incentive programmes, strengthening emission regulations and rapid technology advancements will augment high sales growth globally.

The report, Executive Analysis of Electric Truck Market, Forecast to 2025, provides a strategic overview of growth opportunities, developments, and forecasts in North America, Europe and China.

"The case for electric trucks is becoming more compelling with new business models like leasing of trucks and battery packs or fuel-cell stacks, the availability of incentives, as well as subsidies driving market change," says Chandramowli Kailasam, mobility team leader at Frost and Sullivan.

The Tesla Semi all-electric truck definitely looks impressive but the company’s claims are as yet unproven. Picture: TESLA MOTORS
The Tesla Semi all-electric truck definitely looks impressive but the company’s claims are as yet unproven. Picture: TESLA MOTORS

"Europe is expected to switch to hybrid or full electric technologies in an active drive towards the EU’s 20-20-20 target and to fulfil COP21 promises. In North America, however, awareness of hybrid-electric technologies is expected to be lower than natural gas powertrains as limitations in efficiency gains and recharging points impede adoption rates in the short term until 2020," he says.

The report says strategic imperatives for growth in the electric truck market include developing 250kW+ ultra-fast charging and battery swapping systems to make refuelling comparable to diesel filling times. It states that it is vital that new players looking to enter the market develop electric trucks with a range of more than 483km, autonomous driving functionality and aerodynamically streamlined designs, while investment in battery pack manufacturing and vertical integration of the electric drivetrain is set to be a common phenomenon as original equipment manufacturers try to retain their technology exclusivity.

"Full electric trucks in heavy-duty applications are still an ambitious proposition with significant strides required in battery capacity as well as price," says Kailasam. "Despite these challenges, electric trucks will find their place tailor-made for application in areas such as refuse collection, yard trucks, parcel and delivery services and regional hauling. Plug-in hybrids and conventional hybrids will also form part of the mix."

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