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Commercial vehicles evolve to include electrification

18 September 2018

Commercial vehicles will continue to run on diesel fuel for the foreseeable future. Sixty-six percent of new medium and heavy commercial vehicles sold in the U.S. will be fueled by diesel (diesel and diesel hybrid) in 2040, compared to nearly 80 percent today.

Diesel is expected to remain the dominant fuel type globally through 2040 due to increases in fuel economy which will play a major role in keeping diesel competitive versus alternative powertrains, the study says. Range and load capacity requirements from long-haul, on-highway trucking will keep diesel relevant in the short- and long-term, while other propulsion types will grow in popularity as technology continues to advance.

"Understanding the future course of commercial trucking is so important because its impacts will reverberate far beyond just the trucking industry and through a whole host of industries," said Daniel Evans, vice president of the IHS Markit downstream practice and co-author of the study. "Trucking accounts for half of diesel demand globally, or one-sixth of oil demand, making the future of trucking critically important for the oil industry. A wholistic, system-wide view is needed to see the full picture of this new reality of transportation."

While diesel does remain dominant, the report and forecast indicate a 15 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for battery electric vehicles in the U.S. during the timeframe, as adoption rates increase in medium-duty trucks. This growth is driven from an increase in urban trucking ton-km and advancements in battery technology allowing for more mainstream adoption - particularly among class 4 and 5 trucks with lighter payloads.

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