This report summarizes an analysis of the U.S. medium and heavy-duty (M/HD) in-use truck fleet to identify the most common vehicle types/uses, estimate the environmental impact of each, and assess readiness for greater adoption of zero emitting technologies over the next decade, based on typical usage patterns and market status. It is intended to help inform the Environmental Protection Agency’s deliberations involving future criteria and greenhouse gas emissions standards and policies for medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles.
This analysis focuses on prospects for electric vehicle penetration because all scenarios for avoidance of detrimental future climate warming point to the need for significant reductions in emissions from the transportation system, coupled with further decarbonization of the electric sector. Net reductions in transportation emissions could come from a range of zero-emitting vehicle types including battery-electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. For this study, MJB&A evaluated the current state of battery electric vehicles for each M/HDV market segment, to assess prospects for near-term (through 2025) and medium-term (through 2030) uptake of zero-emission vehicles within each segment. While fuel cell vehicles could also play a role in transforming the transportation system within this timeframe, the focus of this report on battery electric vehicles is based on the relatively greater commercial maturity of this technology in the U.S. market.
Also, while comprising less than 10 percent of all vehicles on the road, M/HD trucks account for more than 60 percent of tailpipe nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate (PM) emissions from the onroad fleet; these emissions contribute to poor air quality in many urban areas, including areas with vulnerable populations. Deploying zero-emitting vehicles coupled with greater use of renewable electricity will provide significant public health benefits by reducing urban air pollution.
For this analysis we have included all vehicles with gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) above 8,500 pounds, encompassing vehicle classes from Class 2b (8,500 – 10,000 lb GVWR) to Class 8 (>33,000 lb GVWR). Totaling 22.8 million vehicles that annually travel more than 430 billion miles and consume more than 55 billion gallons of fuel, this is a very diverse group, ranging from heavy-duty pickups and vans to transit and school buses, freight and work trucks, and tractor-trailers. Most of these vehicles are used commercially, rather than for personal transportation.
While very diverse, approximately 80 percent of the fleet can be grouped into 17 market segments each with broadly similar vehicle configuration and usage patterns; these 17 market segments are the focus of this analysis. Each market segment was evaluated based on four relevant factors that will significantly impact truck owner decisions about whether to purchase an electric vehicle: availability of electric models from major manufacturers (Commercial EV Market), infrastructure requirements for vehicle charging (Charging), the ability of current EV models to meet operating requirements (Technical Feasibility), and prospects for cost parity with current diesel and gasoline vehicles (EV Business case). The analysis finds that there are a large number of market segments that have favorable ratings across at least 3 of the 4 relevant factors, which indicates strong potential for near-term EV uptake. Representing approximately 66 percent of the current in-use fleet, these market segments include Heavy-duty Pickups and Vans, Local Delivery and Service Trucks and Vans, Transit and School Buses, Class 3 - 5 Box Trucks, Class 3 – 7 Stake Trucks, Dump Trucks, and Refuse Haulers.