A non-diesel future? To make that a reality, truck makers have some convincing to do

Semi trucks and cars on highway

While many OEMs and industry stakeholders press on with their alternative fuel and power initiatives, a recent survey indicates there’s not much of an appetite yet for alt-power equipment among fleets.

More than 97 percent of all fleet respondents reported not having purchased an electric or hybrid truck. What’s more, among them nearly 45 percent said they wouldn’t buy such a vehicle, according to a survey conducted by Trucks, Parts, Service sister publication CCJ, which was conducted to gauge market conditions among fleets.

Of the respondents that have not purchased an electric or hybrid truck but would consider it under certain conditions. Nearly one-third (30.7 percent) would be motivated to buy if the upfront costs were lower, 29.3 percent said higher return on investment, 28.6 percent would consider buying if improvements were made to vehicle design and performance and 19.1 percent of respondents said they would consider the next-gen trucks if they were required through government regulation.

The fleets who did purchase an electric or hybrid truck said they did so because they received a grant or voucher to purchase the equipment (37.5 percent), they wanted to evaluate the technology (25 percent), they felt a hybrid/electric unit would best fit their duty cycle (12.5 percent) and more than one-third (37.5 percent) chose other.

[RELATED: Understanding the longer term purchase potential for alternative powertrains]

Among the fleets surveyed with at least 10 power units, 96 percent of respondents reported not purchasing an electric or hybrid truck. Among those respondents, 34.3 percent of those fleets said they would not buy a hybrid or electric truck.

Fleets with 10-plus power units could be motivated to buy a next-gen truck if there was a higher return on investment (38.4 percent), improvements are made to vehicle design and performance (36 percent), lower upfront costs (36 percent), if it was required by government regulations (24.4 percent) and nearly 6 percent chose “other.”

Of the nearly 4 percent of fleets with 10-plus power units who have purchased a hybrid or electric truck, 42.9 percent or respondents said their motivation was a grant or voucher to purchase the equipment, 28.6 percent wanted to evaluate the technology, 14.3 percent believed the hybrid/electric unit would best fit their duty cycle and 28.6 reported “other.”

Preferred alt-fuel vehicles

The survey asked fleets which alternative power technology they are more likely to pursue in the future, voluntarily or when/if regulations require it.

Of all respondents, 45.4 percent chose renewable diesel, 21.6 percent selected natural gas (CNG or LNG), 18.2 percent said battery-electric and 14.8 percent said hydrogen fuel cell electric.

The preferences among fleets with 10-plus power units differed only slightly from all respondents: 39.7 percent chose renewable diesel, 22.9 percent said CNG or LNG, 19 percent selected battery-electric and 18.4 percent would choose hydrogen fuel cell electric.

[RELATED: Sales reps must become consultants for alternative fuel vehicle sales]

If fleets were to incorporate electrification in their business, the survey asked if fleets would be more likely to purchase a traditional diesel powertrain with electrified components (an electric axle, for example) or a full battery electric truck.

Of all fleets, 84.2 percent would prefer traditional diesel with electrified components and 15.8 percent chose full battery-electric vehicle.

Among fleets with 10-plus units, 82.7 percent chose traditional diesel with electrified components and 17.3 percent opted for a full battery-electric vehicle.        

Learn how to move your used trucks faster
With unsold used inventory depreciating at a rate of more than 2% monthly, efficient inventory turnover is a must for dealers. Download this eBook to access proven strategies for selling used trucks faster.
Used Truck Guide Cover