On-Highway Trucks, Engines Continue Growth Path

By Mike Brezonick08 December 2020

The U.S. economy continues to improve despite setbacks with increased COVID-19 cases across the country, according to the recently released North American Commercial Vehicle On-Highway Engine Outlook, published by ACT Research and Rhein Associates.

The report also noted that legislation toward zero emissions continues to grow and both factors are influencing engine demand, as well as the commercial vehicle markets in general.

The NA On-Highway Engine Outlook, published by ACT Research and Rhein Associates, highlights power-source activity for commercial vehicle from Class 5 through Class 8 and includes a five-year forecast of engines volumes and product trends. It ties to the detailed North American commercial vehicle forecasts published monthly by ACT.

“The trucking industry has rebounded strongly, with spot freight rates at record highs and increased new truck order intake leading to raised 2020 industry outlooks for the medium- and heavy-duty segments,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research. “More home deliveries because of COVID are further influencing the trucking industry, amplifying the shift to reduced-distance routes and increasing last mile deliveries.”

Andrew Wrobel, senior powertrain analyst at Rhein Associates, commented, “On the regulation side, California’s governor issued an executive order to require new passenger vehicle sales be zero-emission by 2035. For commercial vehicles, drayage trucks will follow the 2035 timeframe, while medium and heavy trucks will need to be zero emissions by 2045. The order also requires state agencies to accelerate development of affordable fueling and charging options.

“The outlook for natural gas-powered Class 8 vehicles shows limited growth from today’s low market share levels, and despite the current pandemic, electric vehicle product development and new introductions continue. That said, each alternative fuel has its place. Truck fleets remain the primary users of natural gas engines, with refuse the leading vocational application, while medium-duty applications are identified as a primary adopting group of electric commercial vehicles because of their urban applications, with limited daily mileage and most returning to base overnight for easier recharge. School buses are also good candidates for alternative fuels, from propane to natural gas to electric.”

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