Battery Electric Vehicle Adoption Rates to Drive Trucking Industry Decarbonization Goals

In its recently released decarbonization forecast, ACT Research forecasts a significant increase of unit sales in 2026 for total Class 8 tractor volumes in response to the U.S. EPA’s 2027 low-NOx regulations.

ACT Research decarbonization forecast incorporates expected advancements in zero-emission technologies of battery-electric vehicles (BEV), fuel cell-electric vehicles (FCEV) and natural gas (NG) as an alternative decarbonization technology.

“We see BEV as a relatively good solution for decarbonization goals across the various applications and GVW segments that comprise the population of commercial vehicles,” Ann Rundle, vice president of electrification and autonomy at ACT Research, said. “We believe there will be deployment of FCEV and continued usage of NG trucks, but these will be in focused, niche applications and will occur at much lower adoption rates when compared to BEV.”

Regarding the BEV forecast, Rundle shared, “We forecast relatively low adoption rates in 2025 and 2026, as BEV sales of commercial vehicles are still in their early years. Supply-side considerations, including infrastructure challenges, keep adoption rates relatively constrained, but this begins to change in 2027.”

“While MD applications are the sweet spot for BEV adoption right now, CARB’s Advanced Clean Trucks regulation helps push BEV adoption in Class 8, especially tractors, through the end of the decade. Beyond 2030, an advantageous TCO for HD BEV starts to become the primary driving force for adoption in the higher GWV applications,” Lydia Vieth, a research analyst for electrification and autonomy at ACT Research, said. “Volumes for FCEV trucks remain relatively low from 2025 through 2029, reflecting the higher TCO of an FCEV compared to alternatives of diesel, NG and BEV. In addition to higher costs, the limited hydrogen fueling infrastructure will restrict adoption to fleets and routes where H2 fueling is available.”

“Our near-term NG forecast calls for relatively flat unit sales volumes, independent of top-line Class 8 truck volumes,” Rundle said.

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