The global medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (MHDV) market is changing due to environmental concerns that are pushing commercial and government fleet operators to consider investing in fuel efficiency technologies and alternative fuels. Electric power for commercial vehicles has always been a challenge because of the size of the battery packs required to store and deliver enough energy to drive heavy vehicles over practical distances. It is not just the cost; the size and weight can also significantly reduce the payload, which is a major concern for fleet operators.
Electric hybrid vehicles are now being used in commercial applications where the improved technology offers major benefits for specific drive cycles that involve city driving in stop-start traffic. Plug-in vehicles are being developed for niche applications that can use onboard electrical energy to replace idling diesel engines or provide temporary power to buildings or tools at remote sites. Low-emissions zones in cities are being introduced that will result in greater demand for vehicles that can be driven in electric-only mode. According to Navigant Research, global 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.
Navigant Research's report analyzes the global market for commercial vehicles that use electric drive vehicle technology in three main segments: hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Forecasts for the two hybrid segments fueled primarily by oil-based products (HEVs and PHEVs) are broken out by region and by fuel: gasoline or diesel. Global market forecasts for sales and the number of vehicles in use, segmented by country, powertrain, and liquid fuel, extend through 2023.