ACT Research: Diesel Still Dominant as Alternative Fuel Offerings Grow

The latest North American On-Highway Engine OUTLOOK, published by ACT Research and Rhein Associates, highlighted alternative fuel activity for CV GVWs 5-8, including five-year forecasts of engines volumes and product trends.

The news media has been actively presenting new, electric vehicle product offerings for commercial vehicles (CVs) and buses. These headlines could easily lead one to believe the industry is on the verge of going electric, but timing, application, use/applicability and costs remain big question marks.

Some of the media coverage in the past three months include, among others:

  • Waste heat recovery and engine efficiency improvements of SuperTrucks I and II.
  • Mack Trucks’ introduction of MP 8HE 13L and HE+ fuel-efficiency package
  • EPA announcement of Cummins’ voluntary recall of MY 2010-2015 MD and HDT engines and the addition of EDI to Cummins’ portfolio
  • BYD North America’s delivery of their battery-electric refuse hauler to Salt Lake County, Utah
  • Daimler Trucks’ announcement of its ENG extension across all Daimler brands and divisions
  • The continuation of Nikola’s move toward production

One of the discussions in the OUTLOOK report is the changing regulatory environment. Tom Rhein, president of Rhein Associates commented, “This changing regulatory feature makes it more difficult and expensive to plan effectively. Three of the regulations we discussed in this quarter’s issue of the Engine OUTLOOK are the EPA’s recent decision on glider kits, their proposed rule regarding renewable fuel standards, including biomass-based diesel volume standards, and the recently released notice by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the potential relaxation of existing GHG emission and CAFÉ fuel economy standards.”

Ken Vieth, ACT general manager, noted, “Diesel power is under attack for long-term use in on-highway commercial vehicles, but as alternative power is being developed, tested and refined, diesel engines are also undergoing transition, becoming more fuel efficient. Where diesel has been the king of commercial vehicle fuels for nearly a century, it seems we are entering a period where fuel (or power) may no longer be a one-size-fits-all solution, but will become more application and geography specific.”

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