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The electric and hybrid commercial vehicles report (3rd edition)

This publication has been discontinued on March 14, 2013.



This report provides detailed analysis of the various types of electric and hybrid Commercial Vehicles currently in use and under development. It also examines the market, legislative and technological influences that look set to drive change in this area over the next five to ten years and beyond.


The markets for both electric and hybrid commercial vehicles are now established, albeit in niche market volumes. Hybrid-electric buses and light-duty trucks have been available for some years and are now gathering market momentum but remain a long way short of the market penetration seen by hybrid cars, which was estimated at around 0.7% of the global new light vehicle market in 2010. Electric trucks and buses are now just entering the market, as are hybrid hydraulic trucks.

The interest in commercial electric and hybrid vehicles, as is the case for their light vehicle counterparts, is driven by the volatility of petroleum fuel costs, efforts to improve energy security, concerns about both toxic and greenhouse emissions and an associated range of incentives that are now in place at national, state and local government levels. However, the barriers to mass-market uptake are numerous and significant. Although various incentive schemes can assist, the capital costs of the new technologies are high and, in some cases, fuel savings have not so far adequately off-set increased capital and operating costs. Furthermore, the electric-only operating range of electric and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles remains a concern for consumers and the necessary recharging infrastructure is only in the early stages of development.

Nevertheless, there are now many commercial electric and hybrid vehicles available in the market and the intense levels of research, development and investment in enabling technology and new vehicle production will no doubt result in many more during the next few years.

Table of Contents

Executive summary


Market drivers

  • Fuel prices
  • Energy security
  • Carbon dioxide emissions and fuel economy regulations
  • Low emissions zones (LEZs)
  • Incentives
  • OEM commitment

Market barriers

  • Capital cost and payback
  • Operating costs
  • Range
  • Recharging infrastructure
    • OEMs
    • Technology companies
    • Utilities
  • Standards
  • Electricity grid capacity

Market dynamics and forecasts

  • Hybrid trucks
  • Batteries
  • Recharging infrastructure

Enabling technology

  • Types of hybrid drivetrain
    • Parallel hybrids
    • Series hybrids
    • Series-parallel split hybrids
    • Plug-in hybrids
    • Hydraulic hybrids
    • Kinetic hybrids
  • Batteries
    • Lead-acid
    • Sodium nickel halide
    • Nickel metal hydride (NiMH)
    • Lithium
    • Super iron
    • Redox
    • Carbon nanotube
    • Nickel hydrogen
    • Magnesium
    • Super-capacitors
    • Dual systems
  • Electric motors
  • Integrated starter generators
  • Regenerative braking
  • Transmissions
  • Electronic components
  • Electrically-driven ancillaries
  • Brakes
  • Supplier systems
    • Electric
    • Hybrid-electric
    • Hybrid-hydraulic
  • Retrofit systems
    • Electric
    • Hybrid-electric
    • Hybrid-hydraulic

Electric commercial vehicles

  • Vans
    • Micro-vans
    • Car-derived vans
    • Light- and medium-duty vans
  • Trucks
    • Micro-trucks
    • Pick-ups
    • Light-duty trucks
    • Medium- and heavy-duty trucks
  • Buses

Hybrid-electric commercial vehicles

  • Light commercial vehicles
  • Medium- and heavy-duty trucks
  • Buses

Hybrid-hydraulic commercial vehicles

Kinetic hybrid commercial vehicles

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