ACT Research to add commercial electric vehicles to market outlook study offerings

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Kenworth Class 8 Electric Truck
ACT Research plans to release its first in-depth study on electrification of commercial vehicle fleets in 2021. Kenworth is one of many manufacturers that is working to add battery-electric heavy-duty trucks to its lineup. (Courtesy: Kenworth)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — ACT Research, known for its analysis and forecasts for the commercial truck and trailer market, has announced plans for a new study focused on the electrification of the commercial vehicle industry. The report will be released in 2021, according to an Oct. 7 statement.

Jim Miel, ACT’s principal and industry analyst, said he believes “electric-based propulsion systems for commercial vehicles are likely to capture a substantial share of the commercial vehicle market over the next two decades,” creating the potential for “significant” savings in operational costs. He cited advances in battery technology, along with environmental considerations and government policy, as driving factors in the accelerated development of commercial electric vehicles.

“Clearly this poses a threat to internal combustion engines, as electric power displaces today’s dominant power source. Such a change would constitute the most revolutionary development for the motor vehicle industry in the last 100 years,” Miel noted. “Given the progress of the technology, products, and evolution of the competitive arena since the publication of ACT’s first CEV report two years ago, the time has come to revisit the 2018 study. Our intent is to expand the scope of the study to new electric power sources, extend the time horizon to 2040, and to refresh the assumptions and the resulting market outlook.”

The study will include unit sales for the U.S. and Canada, annually from 2020 to 2030, with single-year outlooks for 2035 and 2040. Class 8 truck and Classes 4-7 truck and bus segments will be considered, along with additional segments, including step vans, conventional and low cab forward trucks, RV, school bus, yard spotter and transit bus categories, as well as the Class 8 straight, day cab and sleeper subcategories.

“ACT Research is uniquely positioned to forecast these market developments. Starting as early as 2011 with our first report on natural gas-powered commercial vehicles, we have been at the forefront in analyzing and forecasting the growth of alternative fuels and power in the North American market,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst.

The study will compare the purchase and operational costs for diesel, battery, fuel cell and hybrid powertrains in a rigorous comparative total cost of ownership framework. It will also consider concerns such as infrastructure requirements and costs, regulation and issues including maintenance, range, durability and vehicle and component replacement.

“We are gratified by the enthusiastic reception our study has received thus far,” Miel noted. “Already on board for the 2021 work are traditional ACT Research customers, plus new names for us that we are excited to be working with for the first time.”

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