Race to zero: How manufacturers are positioned for zero-emission commercial trucks and buses in North America

This paper summarizes the new vehicle sales market for Class 2 through Class 8 heavy-duty truck and buses in the United States and Canada. In addition, it profiles the early market for zero-emission HDVs and provides a snapshot of the battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell products available across different truck and bus segments.

The roughly 570 units of zero-emission HDVs sold in the United States and Canada in 2019 represent less than 0.1% of the on-road commercial truck and bus market. In the transit bus segment, which has the largest penetration of zero-emission technology, fully electric vehicles made up 3% of sales in 2019. However, by 2023 the number of available zero-emission HDV models are expected to double in the United States and Canada. The combination of increased regulatory requirements from a growing set of national and sub-national governments, as well as steadily decreasing costs of zero-emissions vehicles and refueling infrastructure, will result in zero-emission HDVs overtaking diesel in the U.S. and Canadian market over the next two decades.

Most legacy truck manufacturers are making significant investments in electrification, but several manufacturers are making significant investments and strategic partnerships to bolster hydrogen fuel cell capabilities, particularly in the Class 7 and 8 tractor truck segment. Virtually all of the legacy manufacturers have formed strategic relationships with or acquired smaller zero-emission suppliers to bolster their acumen in electric drive technology. Several zero-emission manufacturers and powertrain companies have also formed product development alliances with legacy OEMs and component suppliers. In addition, several new entrants in the zero-emission HDV market have emerged over the past five years.