Nothing spells success like commercial adoption of a new technology. Much of the hype over electric vehicle (EV) growth has focused on consumer trends, as the Prius, Leaf Tesla and other models become a more common sight on the roadways and the public charging infrastructure expands to accommodate their integration.
Meanwhile, many large enterprises also are seeing the benefits of EVs, and they aren’t just purchasing one or two EVs for their chief executives.
According to a recent study, electrification of vehicle fleets is on the rise globally.
Released in the fourth quarter of 2018, “Fleet Electrification” by market research firm Navigant Research analyzes the global market for light-duty (LD) and medium- and heavy-duty (MHD) plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) fleets.
The study projects fleet electrification to grow by more than 10 percent over the next 12 years. Navigant expects the PEV fleet population will make up less than 1 percent of the fleet vehicle market in 2018 and rise to 12 percent of the overall fleet vehicle population by 2030.
A number of factors are driving the trend. According to Navigant, innovations in battery technology, energy economics, the rise of automated vehicles and government regulation of transportation pollution are combining to provide incentives to more companies to invest in EVs.
The cost of batteries is falling, and advances in battery energy density are disrupting the industry. This is helping to make the purchase price of PEV’s more cost effective for large enterprises. Furthermore, governments are providing purchase incentives and establishing goals for the reduction of emissions, which also compels more companies to electrify.
Navigant notes that fleet electrification has previously focused mostly on LD vehicles, including cars, SUVs and vans. However, many companies are now taking steps to electrify their fleets of MHD vehicles, including trucks and buses. U.S. companies such as DHL, UPS and FedEx have recently committed to electrify their fleets. Municipalities in China have made similar commitments to electrify their buses.
As a sign that more companies will be electrifying their MHD vehicles, Navigant points to Tesla’s 2017 introduction of Semi, an all-electric battery-powered Class 8 semi-trailer truck, and an all-electric refuse truck introduced by Chinese automaker BYD in 2018. More recently, BYD also introduced a fleet of all-electric double-decker buses.