According to a New Study, Resistance is Futile
by Jason Giacchino
If you talk to a true blooded trucker about going electric, there's a chance that trucker will try to pull you down the road with his big 'ol diesel hauler. However, if you tell him about recent forecasts in the hybrid commercial truck segment, that same trucker might just think you're trying to pull his leg.
Annual global sales of commercial electric-drive trucks are expected to
jump more than tenfold within the next six years, as more companies
invest in advanced powertrains. The reason for such high numbers? Why
the high (and rising) cost of diesel of course.
Currently, the Ford commercial vehicle fleet consists of eight trucks or vans, of which only one offers electric/hybrid technology. The Transit Connect E/V
currently allows drivers a range of 50 to 80 miles on one charge, at speeds upwards of 75mph. As impressive as the Transit Connect is, it's only a drop in in the bucket of what they'll need to compete in the global commercial hybrid truck market, if recent research can be believed.
According to Pike
, Almost 101,000 medium- and heavy-duty hybrid trucks will be sold
worldwide in 2017, up from less than 10,000 this year
. North America will account for roughly a quarter of these
predicted sales while Asia Pacific will make up more than 40 percent.
More businesses are investing in hybrid technology for their trucks as
the global economy has proven slow to recover and oil prices continue to
rise. Industry analysts have predicted rapid growth for electric-drive
trucks because of the potentially substantial fuel-cost savings compared
to conventional diesel trucks of comparable size.
Further adding fuel to the hoopla is the fact that analysts suspect the
federal government will likely continue to give tax breaks to companies
that buy electric-drive trucks in order to encourage US businesses to
cut down on greenhouse-gas emissions, while simultaneously reducing
dependency on foreign oil.
Since 2000, UPS
has added more than 370 hybrid vehicles to its fleet,
including 129 this year alone and FedEx isn't too far behind with
roughly 330 hybrids in its fleet.
Interestingly, these latest forecasts are actually slightly downsized
compared to an earlier prediction that annual hybrid truck sales would
eclipse the 100,000 mark by 2015. The reason for this is that the first
prediction included busses in addition to hybrid commercial vehicles.