Fleet News

Incentives and federal grants are expected to propel the adoption of hybrids in Europe and North America

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan Strategic finds that the hybrid truck, bus and van market is expected to grow from 4.1 thousand units in 2009 to 222 thousand units by 2016. The products covered in this research service are: light commercial vehicles, medium commercial vehicles, heavy commercial vehicles and buses.

“Amongst alternative powertrain technologies and fuels, hybrid commercial vehicles exert the least pressure on the existing energy and transportation infrastructure and require only minimal modification to the current fuelling infrastructure.” says Frost & Sullivan global programme manager, Sandeep Kar. “This aspect of hybrid commercial vehicles is acting as one of the strongest market drivers in North America and Europe, attracting governments, commercial vehicle manufacturers, and potential consumers alike towards supporting and accepting hybrid commercial vehicles.”

In the commercial vehicle industry, the return-on-investment (ROI) potential is a key determinant for adoption of new technologies. Fuel price volatility, government incentives and low lifecycle costs associated with hybrid trucks are all in favour of hybrid commercial vehicles.

“Currently, the high upfront cost associated with hybrids is countered with federal grants, incentives, and tax rebates,” explains Kar. “Although such incentives offer relief in the short term, for hybrids to be commercially viable in the long term, the upfront cost difference should reduce considerably.”

Private fleets in North America and Europe have emerged as early adopters of hybrid commercial vehicles. However, robust volume growth can be attained through the penetration of for-hire fleets.

“Standardization of key enabling technologies will not only reduce R&D expenses and complexity but also create a foundation for launching aggressive price reduction strategies that are necessary for stoking market growth,” concludes Kar.

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