All electric power for commercial vehicles has always been a challenge, because of the sheer size of the battery packs required to store and deliver enough energy to drive heavy vehicles over practical distances.
As battery technology improves, though, electric hybrid vehicles are now gaining traction in commercial applications where the technology offers significant benefits for drive cycles that involve a lot of city driving in stop-start traffic.
According to a new report from Navigant Research, worldwide sales of electric drive and electric-assisted commercial vehicles are expected to grow from less than 16,000 in 2014 to nearly 160,000 in 2023.
“Overall, we expect diesel hybrid drive to remain the most popular of the electrically assisted medium- and heavy-duty vehicle powertrains for the whole of the forecast period,” says David Alexander, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “Battery-electric commercial vehicles will also see growth in demand within urban fleets that average low daily mileage.”
Global penetration of electric-drive trucks and buses is anticipated to remain low, according to the report, increasing from 0.4% in 2014 to 2.9% in 2023.
The highest penetration levels will occur in regions with dense urban conglomerations where governments are taking steps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from city traffic. The highest sales penetration rate for a country is expected to be in Japan, where it is forecast to reach 21.2% by 2023.