REPORT: “Attack” On Diesel Fuel Spurs Electric Truck Race

Little Rock, Arkansas – Class 8 production of diesel engine trucks is expected to continue its growth trend into 2019, despite the intrigue presented by electric powered trucks, according to a new report.

According to the recently released N.A. Commercial Vehicle On-Highway Engine OUTLOOK, published by ACT Research and Rhein Associates, Class 8 production is expected to continue its upward trend into 2019. The report makes clear diesel is still the dominate power source and is expected to continue to be at least in the short term.

However, Kenny Vieth, President and Senior Analyst at ACT Research, believes diesel truck production is facing serious long-term threats. “Diesel power is under attack long-term for use in on-highway commercial vehicles,” Vieth said.

“Alternative power is being developed, tested, and refined, even as diesel engines are transitioning to become more fuel efficient and clean,” he continued. Additionally, Vieth noted ever-increasing emission regulations are also a “main driver of alternative fuel adoption.”

 

Vieth’s pessimistic view of diesel’s long-term prospect comes as a host of vehicle makers including Nikola, Toyota, start-up Rivian, Daimler, Kenworth and others are racing to bring electric trucks to market.

In a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), announced last week, between Air Liquide, Hyundai, NEL, Nikola Motor, Shell and Toyota, the companies are seeking to streamline testing of state of the art heavy duty (HD) hydrogen fueling hardware.

In addition, the MOU seeks to assist in standardization in order to speed electric trucks powered by fuel cells into the marketplace.


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The industry group has created specifications for the fueling nozzle, vehicle receptacle, dispenser hose and breakaway device components for this HD application for the purpose of developing Request for Proposals to suppliers.

“Diesel power is under attack long-term for use in on-highway commercial vehicles. Alternative power is being developed, tested, and refined, even as diesel engines are transitioning to become more fuel efficient and clean.” – Kenny Vieth, President and Senior Analyst at ACT Research

As for the current market short-term market for diesel powered tractors, ACT’s new report foresees coming changes in demand for straight trucks and tractors which will impact the type of diesel engines ordered.

Tom Rhein, President of Rhein Associates commented, “Tractors continue to be more impacted by cyclical demand than vocational trucks. The truck share of Class 8 fell to just below 27% in 2018, and is forecast to reach a similar level in 2019.”

 

Rhein continued, “Average truck production from 2019-2023 is expected to increase nearly 8% over the average of the past five years, while average tractor production is forecast at almost 3% below the past five-year average.”

Regarding Classes 5-7, Rhein said, “The market share of Class 5 trucks has stabilized around 36-38% of the medium duty market, where it is forecast to remain.”

(image courtesy of Nikola Motors)

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