BOULDER, CO – As technology costs fall and diesel prices increase, the value proposition for hybrid trucks is strong. In fact, a new report from Pike Research forecasts that sales will surpass 100,000 vehicles annually by 2017.
Truck manufacturers are looking to technologies that can help mitigate the rising cost of diesel fuel while meeting increasingly strict emissions requirements. Trucks that use electricity to meet these goals come in four variations: hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid, battery electric, and plug-in electric power take-off (EPTO) to operate equipment onboard without using fuel.
“The truck market has experienced seismic changes in the last few years,” said senior analyst Dave Hurst. “The global recession has taken a huge toll on medium-duty and heavy-duty truck sales in many regions. As fuel prices have increased, truck manufacturers have responded by expanding their offerings of alternative drivetrains to help reduce emissions and fuel usage by trucks.”
However, Hurst added that the primary challenge facing the hybrid truck market remains the cost of the system. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) all continue to have higher upfront costs that are significant enough to result in higher total cost of ownership for the vehicles. While the typical operating cost of a diesel vehicle is significantly higher than that of other drivetrains ($0.72/mile for diesel versus $0.60/mile for hybrid and $0.22/mile for BEV trucks), Pike Research’s analysis indicated that the higher purchase cost and low cost of diesel in some markets means that the trucks are not able to recover the incremental costs for the electric drive system in their lifetime. As a result, government incentives and emissions or fuel economy regulations will continue to play a very important role in promoting hybrids and plug-in trucks.
Pike Research’s analysis further indicated that most HEV, PHEV, and BEV trucks will utilize different chemistries of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. The clean-tech market intelligence firm expects that the use of nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries will peak in 2016, as vehicle manufacturers move their remaining systems toward Li-ion. The Li-ion market is expected to reach 3.6 million kilowatt hours (kWh) globally in the medium- and heavy-duty truck market by 2017.
Pike Research’s report, “Hybrid Medium and Heavy Duty Trucks,” examines the opportunities and challenges in the market for hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The report assesses different drivetrains, battery technologies, and key drivers of market growth. The report also explores global government regulations regarding diesel emissions and vehicle purchase incentives and includes forecasts through 2017. Key market players are also profiled.