ACT: Half of Class 4-8 sales will be BEVs by 2035 – Fuel Smarts


charging infrastructure will affect BEV adoption rates in certain commercial applications. – Credit: ACT Research”/>

Factors such as advances in battery technology and charging infrastructure will affect BEV adoption rates in certain commercial applications.

Credit: ACT Research


Class 4 to 8 battery electric vehicles already show a positive total cost of ownership compared to conventional vehicles in three quarters of the applications examined by ACT Research in an in-depth analysis. By 2030, according to the research firm, this figure will increase to 100%. By 2040, about half of these applications will achieve price parity between BEVs and conventional powertrains.

In fact, the firm predicts that battery electric vehicles will account for more than half of Class 4-8 vehicles sold in the United States and Canada by 2035.

These gains will be realized through compelling business cases, as continuous technological improvements and cost reductions make commercial battery electric vehicles more attractive. Regulations and incentives can help, but ACT asserts that these are not the dominant factor in commercial BEV market share growth.

These are the key findings from ACT’s second edition of its Charging Forward report. ACT Research analyzed and created economy-based TCO algorithms to plot baseline, slow case, and fast case scenarios for the adoption of 23 Class 4-8 business vehicle applications in North America. North.

ACT looked at all costs associated with the vehicle over its lifetime, including purchase price, battery/fuel cell replacement, maintenance, fuel, charging infrastructure, utility taxes, acquisition, road use taxes, insurance and weight penalties.

For total cost of ownership, ACT reports that a mid-duty battery-electric van truck already beats one with a traditional diesel engine. And once new EPA diesel emission regulations drive up the costs of traditional powertrains in 2027 (2024 in California), that comparison will tilt more in favor of BEVs.

In comparison, for Class 8 tractors, the TCO will favor diesel over electric until these NOx regulations come into force.

Future trends identified by ACT as critical to the growth of electric vehicle adoption include:

  • Lower battery and fuel cell costs
  • Rising Diesel Powertrain Costs to Meet Upcoming Emissions Regulations
  • Improved powertrain efficiency for internal combustion and electric vehicles
  • Increased battery energy density
  • Zero-emission sales mandates
  • Ban on internal combustion and/or diesel engines

Refined TCO models

This second edition leveraged ACT’s global analysis of commercial electric vehicles, “Power Up”, to refine TCO models and adoption rate forecasts for North America.

For example, the new analysis has provided insight into where battery costs are going and how they will differ for commercial vehicles and passenger cars, said Ann Rundle, who joined ACT Research just over a year ago. year as Vice President of Electrification. and autonomy. There is further discussion and reporting on regulations and incentives, which are helping to increase adoption rates in the early years of ACT analysis. For example, between the release of the first report and this second edition, more states have adopted California’s emissions regulations.

The new report expands on topics such as propulsion systems and battery recycling, and there’s a new ‘well-to-wheel’ analysis. For those who purchase the report, it comes with spreadsheets allowing users to enter their own numbers for TCO analysis.


Upcoming emissions regulations are expected to drive up the cost of conventional diesel transmissions, which will require additional aftertreatment.  - Credit: ACT Research

Upcoming emissions regulations are expected to drive up the cost of conventional diesel transmissions, which will require additional aftertreatment.

Credit: ACT Research


Hydrogen fuel cells

ACT isn’t as bullish on hydrogen fuel cells as electric batteries, saying FCEVs are challenged by durability and cost.

The report notes that for its Class 8 day cab application model, fuel cell electric vehicles will eventually offer better TCO than diesel, but not better than battery electric. In the meantime, an internal combustion engine powertrain will have a better TCO than BEV or FCEV for this application until NOx regulations tighten.

Some of the challenges faced by the FCEV Commercial Vehicles report include:

  • Existing fuel cell systems cost an average of $350 to $450 per kW, many times the Department of Energy’s $80 target.
  • The durability of the system today is around 5,000 hours, but to be on par with diesel, it would need to be improved to 25,000 hours, a 500% improvement.
  • To put a fuel cell system at price parity with a diesel, according to ACT, it would take 30,000 hours and a cost of $50/kW.
  • It is difficult to build a refueling infrastructure that would use “green” hydrogen. Today’s hydrogen is mainly produced by methods that are not sustainable.

What about RNG?

Rundle told HDT that while the report does not include natural gas in its comparisons, it is worth considering.

“Everyone naturally expects low GVW vehicles to see faster adoption of BEV,” she said. “In fact, the highest adoption in our model is class 6-7. In class 4 and 5, once you get into more expensive diesel engines, you can switch to a renewable natural gas engine.

So for its next edition, ACT will add natural gas analysis – what are the CO2 emissions, what are the costs, how will stricter NOx regulations affect the balance of natural gas engines versus diesel or gasoline, etc. And when you factor in renewable natural gas, made from biomass or methane captured from landfills and dairy, there’s an additional greenhouse gas benefit at source.

Rundle has been in the industry long enough to remember previous attempts to develop alternative propulsion systems, including hydraulic hybrids and diesel-electric hybrids when she was at Eaton. She’s seen EV startups like Smith Electric come and go. When asked what was different this time around, she replied, “The technology is there. The technology has improved a lot.

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