An electric truck is an electric vehicle powered by batteries designed to transport cargo. — Photo: by Vincent Everts (CC BY 3.0)
Major fleets have committed to transitioning at least 30 percent of their new heavyduty truck purchases to be zeroemission vehicles, including electric models, by 2030. It remains that many companies are daunted by the extra upfront cost of electric trucks. Coupled with this are substantial challenges including the limited availability of chargers.
On the other side, the benefits of electric trucks, increased availability of more makes and models, investments in charging infrastructure, the rapid improvement of the upfront and longterm economics, and policy incentives all point to a nearterm boom in their adoption.
Some of these trends are drawn out in IDTechEx’s report, “Electric and Fuel Cell Trucks 20242044: Markets, Technologies, and Forecasts”. This report finds that the future of electric trucks hinges on continued innovation in battery technology, further expansion of charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, and acceptance of fuel cell trucks.
Despite the advantages, progress is relatively slow. Electric truck sales shares remain low across most major markets. With the exception of China, Germany, and Netherlands, the cumulative electric medium and heavyduty truck sales to date number in the hundreds in most countries (just over 6000 electric trucks were sold across the entire European Union and UK regions in Q1Q3 2023).
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), as fully electric vehicles with rechargeable batteries and no gasoline engine, dominate in China. Those most in demand are batteryswap capable vehicles. Such trucks make up around 50 percent of the market share.
Shazan Siddiqi, Senior Technology Analyst at IDTechEx has found that battery swapping will remain a key technology pathway for heavyduty trucks in China in the coming years. This is in contrast with the number of hydrogenpowered fuel cell electric trucks, which appear to have stalled.
Siddiqi identifies similar pattern in the U.S. where improved models and infrastructure have helped to drive an electrification push in 2023. This is being partially influenced by legislative changes with ten states having signed up to the Californian ‘Advanced Clean Trucks’ regulation, which requires manufacturers to sell a gradually increasing proportion of electrically powered lorries, vans and pickup trucks by 2035.
In Europe, Siddiqi observes that Germany and the Netherlands are the main drivers of growth, making up 65 percent of EU electric truck sales. Volvo Trucks is the current market leader in batteryelectric truck sales in Europe.
To achieve future growth, Siddiqi states there needs to be greater scale up fast or ultrafast charging especially with chargers with rated power of 1 MW.