Nevertheless, a significant number of players continue to develop hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and battery electric trucks for a variety of applications, and the market is expected to pick up steam in the coming years.
According to a recent report from Navigant Research, 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.”
Hybrid 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 plug-in hybrid trucks 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. Electric trucks are being developed mainly for medium-duty trucks, as the batteries are not well suited for very large truck applications.