E-commerce will drive the adoption of electric trucks
Editor’s Note: Written by Saloni Walimbe of Global Market Insights, a market research company. This is part of a series of periodic guest columns written by industry thought leaders.
The outbreak of COVID 19 has caused a massive shift in consumer shopping behavior around the world. This is evident from the surge in digital purchases and the subsequent surge in e-commerce deliveries.
According to a report by the World Economic Forum, consumer e-commerce shipments grew by 25% in 2020. Of this growth, 10-20% will continue even after the crisis is over. This is good for the heavy truck market given trucking’s role in transporting goods in the e-commerce ecosystem.
Trucking is a mainstay of the global economy. The American Trucking Associations estimates that it is responsible for the movement of 72% of all goods consumed in the United States. Heavy commercial trucks are crucial in the supply chain network. Every product transported from ports or factories to customers’ doorsteps is transported by road at some point, creating significant opportunities for the truck marketwhich is expected to exceed $450 billion by 2027, according to Global Market Insights Inc.
While overseas freight transportation relies more on services such as sea or air freight, domestic freight transportation relies more on trucking. To maintain their position of strength in the logistics ecosystem, heavy trucking companies are making significant efforts to improve their functions, using improved equipment and advanced GPS routes to speed up delivery times.
Adoption and construction of electric heavy trucks
The strict containment measures imposed by governments around the world during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 have triggered a massive upheaval in the economic landscape. One of the industries hardest hit by these protocols has been the construction industry, which has faced significant setbacks due to project delays and labor shortages.
The industry is rebounding as regulators and governments continue to increase investment in infrastructure development and accelerate the transition to net zero carbon emissions.
With these developments, the scope of heavy trucking will improve. Construction is one of the most important fields of application for the truck industry. Government initiatives to improve global infrastructure as part of a post-pandemic economic recovery strategy will produce significant innovations in high-performance heavy-duty trucks over the years.
Companies like Denmark-based Unicon, for example, are pushing hard to introduce electric heavy-duty commercial trucks for moving crucial construction products such as concrete, which is considered one of the hardest industries to electrify. . In February 2022, the company announced plans to place an order for 11 Volvo VM Electric heavy-duty truck models, the largest private order in the country. As part of a long-term collaboration between Unicon and Volvo Trucks, will convert electric trucks into concrete mixers for use in Denmark. This will spur the development of advanced electrified heavy-duty trucking solutions for transporting concrete.
Electrification of the North American transport sector
Over the past two decades, sustainability has become a major issue for the logistics ecosystem in North America. Goods transport vehicles, especially heavy goods vehicles, are among the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, medium and heavy trucks account for nearly 14.5% of total oil consumption in the United States. Estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency suggest that these vehicles account for almost a quarter of global transport GHG emissions. sector.
Although the definition of green logistics is somewhat ambiguous, an important part of the concept is the mitigation of carbon emissions through electrification. A full transition to hybrid or electric vehicles is a work in progress.
Volvo Trucks is one of the largest heavy-duty truck companies at the forefront of deploying zero-exhaust trucks around the world. This is evident from the company’s recent efforts in North America, where it introduced an upgraded version of its Volvo VNR Class 8 electric heavy-duty truck, with faster charging functionality of 250 kW and an increase of over 85 % of autonomy.
General Motors is also moving forward with the electrification of small trucks. The company originally planned for heavy-duty pickup trucks to go electric in 2040, in line with its goal of becoming carbon neutral. However, in January, the automaker announced that the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado heavy-duty pickup models would become fully electric by 2035, in line with plans for the rest of the light-duty lineup.
Many organizations have also begun collaborative efforts to build strong charging infrastructure to support the development of cleaner, fuel-efficient electric heavy-duty trucks. For example, NFI Industries and Electrify America have announced plans to install a new network of fast-charging stations for electric trucks, equipped with 34 ultra-fast DC chargers. The project, slated for completion in December 2023, is part of Electrify America and NFI’s broader strategy to address the negative impacts of emissions from the heavy trucking industry in Los Angeles.
Over the years, road transport has evolved at a breakneck pace, becoming much more complex than before, forcing many freight transport companies to redouble their efforts to cope with ever-increasing transport volumes and high engine power requirements. In this scenario, the development of sustainable heavy trucking solutions has become imperative to pave the way for more sustainable and carbon-free road freight prospects in the future.
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