The expansion of alternative drive systems for commercial vehicles is progressing only slowly worldwide, according to the consulting firm BloombergNEF, which specializes in analyses of renewable energies and future technologies, in its recently published report “Electric Vehicle Outlook 2020”. Although a rapid expansion of electric drives is evident in regular-service buses, little change is expected in the truck segment over the next 20 years.

In its recently released report, BloombergNEF predicts that by 2040 around 67 percent of all buses worldwide will be battery electric. Diesel buses would continue to be used, but mainly where there is a lack of the necessary charging infrastructure or extreme temperatures prevail. According to Bloomberg, fuel cell drives in buses will only be used where hydrogen production is located and decision makers prefer this technology.

Source: BloombergNEF

BloombergNEF analysts currently estimate the global market share of electric buses at one third and expect it to increase to 58 percent by 2030. According to the forecast, more than 50 percent of new registrations of light trucks, vans and delivery vans will also be equipped with electric drive systems in the next ten years.

Driven by the need to reduce emissions in cities, the introduction of electric vehicles here is proceeding faster than in the rest of the commercial vehicle market. This also applies to heavy trucks in urban distribution transport, where experts predict that electric vehicles will have a market share of more than 30 percent by 2040, since charging infrastructure solutions are relatively easy to implement for these applications.

The situation is different in long-distance freight transport, however. Here the fuel cell is more suitable, according to BloombergNEF. However, the operation of fuel cell vehicles remains geographically limited. Implementation would only take place in areas where there are already plans to use this technology with the associated refuelling infrastructure (e.g. California, China and parts of Europe, Japan and South Korea). By 2040, BloombergNEF expects fuel cell vehicles to account for 1.5 percent of medium trucks, 3.9 percent of heavy trucks and 6.5 percent of buses.

Overall, the analyses published in the “Electric Vehicle Outlook 2020” show that the expansion of alternative drives in commercial vehicles is progressing very slowly worldwide. At the same time, the worldwide transport volume continues to rise. For this reason, the authors forecast that climate-damaging emissions from road transport will continue to increase until 2033 and only then will they slowly start to decrease again. By 2040, CO2 emissions from road transport will not have fallen, but will still be six percent higher than in 2019. The conclusion of BloombergNEF: “More stringent fuel economy regulations for commercial trucks and other policy measures will be needed to bend the curve faster.”