As the plug-in light passenger vehicle market expands, electrification is now creeping into the trucking segment ... and established commercial truck manufacturers are already feeling the pressure of upcoming disruption to their business..
Circle the date: Tesla Semi debuts September 28th, 2017
Popular industry website Trucks.com notes that Navistar, Paccar, and other traditional companies risk obsolescence if they don't begin developments of electrified power-trains.
"That’s the assessment of analyst Alexander Potter from Piper Jaffray in a report released Tuesday for industry investors.
“Many stocks in our truck coverage are exposed to disruption. Other than Wabco and Tesla we don't recommend buying any of them,” Potter said.
Venerable industry suppliers such as Navistar International Corp., Paccar Inc., Cummins Inc. and Allison Transmission Holdings are among the most “susceptible,” Potter wrote."
Range is still a major issue for trucks, so the electrification has begin with smaller trucks with regional depots (equipped with charging stations), but there are new players on the horizon:
- Tesla semi to debut this month and in the future it will be autonomous
- Toyota is working on hydrogen fuel cell semi truck
- Nikola Motors promissing long-range hydrogen fuel cell truck with a 320 kWh battery
- Cummins outlines plans for electric powertrains by 2019
- Daimler began production of Fuso eCanter small truck
- even an autonomous electric truck project out of Sweden (T-pod)
Daimler Fuso eCanter
As we see it, electric trucks will probably follow in the foot steps of electric buses, which are already taking sales from traditional business manufacturers in California and other states.
EVs are still of course more expensive to initially buy, and have some range and charging issues, but the regular maintenance costs, and energy costs to operate are much, much lower. Also the driving experience is unparalleled.
As fleet managers and operators more and more see the operational benefits, the change (as with e-buses) will likely be swift when it arrives.
"“Naturally the economics are different in other vocations, but as volume rises and prices fall toward parity, other segments should steadily embrace EV drivetrains, including school buses, refuse trucks, and urban delivery fleets, more-or-less in that order,” he said."