New Report Shows Zero-Emission Trucks, Buses are Ready to Roll in North America

Truck, bus manufacturers are well-positioned to meet demands of a zero-emissions future

October 28, 2020
Erica Fick, (512) 691-3406,

(BOSTON, MA) Manufacturers are readying to meet demand for zero-emission trucks and buses in the United States and Canada, according to a new report out today by The International Council on Clean Transportation, Propulsion Quebec and Environmental Defense Fund. “Race to zero: How manufacturers are positioned for zero-emission commercial trucks and buses in North America” shows that manufacturers – through their investments and product plans – recognize that the future of the commercial vehicle industry is zero-emissions.

The report identifies that at least 125 zero-emission truck and bus models are in production, development or demonstration. Over the past 5 years, sales of zero-emission commercial vehicles have shot up by nearly a factor of 10. There are models for each of the distinct major segments of the heavy-duty vehicle market, including transit and school buses, delivery vans, box trucks and combination trucks. Every major truck and bus manufacturer is developing at least one all-electric vehicle model or is part of an industry collaboration to bring zero-emission vehicles to market.

This illustrates that the entire heavy-duty vehicle industry is quickly moving towards a combustion-free future. Further, battery-electric technology - versus hydrogen - is dominating the early zero-emission market for heavy-duty vehicles.

“Commercial vehicle electrification is a really vibrant space, as we’ve seen a flurry of announced new zero-emission models, major investments, and joint ventures,” said Ben Sharpe, who is a Senior Researcher with the ICCT. “What’s even more exciting is that we expect the market to continue to accelerate. With ambitious policies such as California’s Advanced Clean Trucks regulation coming into effect over the next few years, as well as steadily decreasing costs for zero-emission technology, the race to zero is heating up fast.”

“While the electrification of transportation represents one of the solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it is essential to encourage the development and commercialization of zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles to meet the needs of fleet managers who wish to make the transition to electric vehicles,” said Sarah Houde, CEO of Propulsion Québec. “We are pleased to see manufacturers of electric vehicles from Quebec taking a leading position and standing out in the North American market, and we encourage the deployment of public policies, such as a law regulating zero-emission vehicles, in favour of these medium and heavy-duty vehicles.”

“Zero-emission trucks are urgently needed to reduce climate and air pollution – especially for frontline communities living near major truck corridors,” said Jason Mathers, director of EDF’s vehicles and freight strategy. “Leading manufacturers are ready to make these trucks and fleets are eager to drive them. Now we need bold policy to accelerate the market for zero-emission trucks and buses – which will deliver clean air and help grow jobs in North America.”

While the emerging zero-emission truck and bus market is very dynamic with new products being announced on nearly a weekly basis, vehicle availability is still a barrier to wide-scale adoption. Fleet decision-makers and policymakers want to know there will be enough supply of zero-emission alternatives to meet their ambitious conversion targets.

This report, which summarizes the zero-emission models that are being prototyped or deployed commercially as of July 2020 – both by original equipment manufacturers and startup companies  – finds that this era of uncertainty could soon be coming to an end because of the increasing number and diversity of zero-emission models that are commercially available.

This study was conducted with financial support of the Gouvernement du Québec, the Heising-Simons Foundation and Hydro Québec.

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