Companies like Volvo, Tesla, and Navistar are pushing hard to develop commercial-grade electric trucks, but it’s hard to imagine how electric trucks– which still require more downtime for recharging than ICE-powered trucks do for refueling– might be a profitable choice for fleet operators. Despite that, a recent report from research firm, TechNavio, concluded that the global electric truck market would grow to more than 309,000 fully electric and hybrid electric trucks by 2023. Their reasoning is based on one thing: cheap batteries.

“The continuously reducing battery prices are expected to boost electric truck demand in the forthcoming years,” reads a sample of the report, distributed by TechNavio. “The battery cost is decreasing continuously owing to the implementation of economies of scale from various major battery manufacturers. The declining battery costs will further allow the electric truck manufacturers to achieve price parity with diesel trucks.”

For commercial trucks and passenger vehicles alike, price parity with their internal combustion counterparts is a huge deal. It’s widely believed that, once such parity is achieved, the demand for electric vehicles would go up considerably. With trucks, especially, demand is expected to rise exponentially, leading the market to register a CAGR of over 32% during the forecast period.

There are a number of reasons why an electric truck or bus fleet would appeal to fleet managers, but improved cost control is the critical one to look at here. Electricity can be produced in a number of ways– through solar, wind, hydroelectric, or nuclear means; even burning natural gas or coal! That flexibility means that power providers can switch between energy sources as needed, escaping the monopoly of oil companies and insulating them from swings in the market price of oil. But there’s another factor at play, too, which is being developed hand-in-hand with electric trucks: automation.

“The adoption of autonomous technologies in electric trucks is identified as one of the key trends expected to gain prominence in the market,” reads the sample report, clearly citing the progress of self-driving vehicle tech. “Truck manufacturers are increasingly equipping (their) electric trucks with autonomous technologies such as telematics for increasing their utility. Modern electric trucks are being provided with electronic systems such as automatic lane tracking and automatic braking. In addition, the adoption of AI is expected to make hybrid and all-electric vehicles more efficient. Such developments are expected to foster a positive outlook for the electric truck market.”

I’m not sure how I feel about a 50,000 lb. hunk of flammable, rolling steel barreling down the road without a human pilot at the helm– at least, if it’s a Tesla. But maybe I’m just not enough of a fan of ol’ Musky. What about you guys? Do you see this kind of market growth as a great thing for the trucking and shipping industries, or is it just a way for billion dollar companies to avoid paying truck drivers living wages? Let us know what you think in the comments section at the bottom of the page.


Source | Images: TechNavio, via Businesswire.