ACT Research offers insights into alternative power adoption rates

ACT Research’s recently released decarbonization forecast, North America Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK Plus, incorporates expected advancements in zero-emission technologies of battery-electric vehicles (BEV), fuel cell-electric vehicles (FCEV), and natural gas (NG) as an alternative decarbonization technology.

“We see BEV as a relatively good solution for decarbonization goals across the various applications and GVW segments that comprise the population of commercial vehicles,” says Ann Rundle, ACT’s vice president, Electrification & Autonomy. “We believe there will be deployment of FCEV and continued usage of NG trucks, but these will be in focused, niche applications and will occur at much lower adoption rates when compared to BEV.”

Across the board, ACT Research forecasts a significant increase of unit sales in 2026 for total Class 8 tractor volumes in response to the U.S. EPA 2027 low-NOx regulations.

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Regarding the BEV forecast, Rundle says, “We forecast relatively low adoption rates in 2025 and 2026, as BEV sales of commercial vehicles are still in their early years. Supply-side considerations, including infrastructure challenges, keep adoption rates relatively constrained, but this begins to change in 2027.”

“While medium-duty applications are the sweet spot for BEV adoption right now, CARB’s Advanced Clean Trucks regulation helps push BEV adoption in Class 8, especially tractors, through the end of the decade. Beyond 2030, an advantageous TCO for HD BEV starts to become the primary driving force for adoption in the higher GWV applications,” adds Lydia Vieth, ACT’s research analyst, Electrification & Autonomy.

“Volumes for FCEV trucks remain relatively low from 2025 through 2029, reflecting the higher TCO of an FCEV compared to alternatives of diesel, NG, and BEV,” she says. “In addition to higher costs, the limited hydrogen fueling infrastructure will restrict adoption to fleets and routes where H2 fueling is available.”

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Rundle concludes, “Our near-term NG forecast calls for relatively flat unit sales volumes, independent of top-line Class 8 truck volumes.”

Hydrogen Fuel Cell & BEV Survey
The following survey was sent as a link in an email cover message in February 2023 to the newsletter lists for Overdrive and CCJ. After approximately two weeks, a total of 176 owner-operators under their own authority, 113 owner-operators leased or assigned to a carrier and 82 fleet executives and 36 fleet employees from fleets with 10 or more power units had completed and submitted the questionnaire for a total of 407 qualified responses. Cross-tabulations based on respondent type are provided for each question when applicable.
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