Truck electrification – Profit booster or white elephant?

The trucking industry is experiencing a significant transition as it embraces electric drivetrains, offering both opportunities and challenges for manufacturers and operators in the realm of charging infrastructure. As Europe aims to address climate change and reduce CO2 emissions from road traffic, making transportation more sustainable is crucial. While passenger car electrification is already well underway, the electrification of trucks has been relatively slower due to various factors such as limited distance ranges and reduced payload capacity of battery electric trucks compared to their hydrogen fuel cell counterparts.
Despite these challenges, the majority of truck manufacturers are gradually moving towards electric trucks, as evidenced by several prominent OEMs unveiling new electric truck models. Light vehicle OEMs have been quick to focus on battery electric passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, while truck OEMs have been more hesitant in their approach. However, the maturity of battery electric vehicle (BEV) technology and the overlaps in research and development with the passenger vehicle industry may facilitate the large-scale rollout of zero-emission (ZE) battery electric trucks in the near term.


Turning point

The 2022 IAA Transportation event in Hanover, Germany, marked a significant turning point for truck electrification, with many OEMs showcasing their new electric trucks. Daimler Truck introduced the eActros LongHaul, Scania AB unveiled the 45 R electric truck, and other manufacturers like Ford Motor Company, DAF Trucks, and MAN Truck & Bus SE also presented their electric truck prototypes. Volvo Trucks joined the movement with its “Towards Zero” campaign, aiming for zero emissions and zero accidents. Volvo Trucks already offers five electric truck models in Europe and has started series production of electric versions of its heavy-duty trucks.

Source: Arthur D. Little

Ambitious targets

The truck market is expected to undergo a rapid transition to zero-emission (ZE) technologies. Major European truck OEMs, Traton Group, Volvo, and Daimler, have set ambitious targets for electrification, aiming for at least 50% of new truck sales to be ZE vehicles by 2030. However, there are variations in OEM technology roadmaps, with Traton pursuing an electric-only strategy, while Volvo and Daimler maintain a dual-pronged approach with battery electric and fuel cell electric technologies.


The transition to electric trucks will significantly impact the charging infrastructure. Different charging use cases have been identified, including depot charging, destination charging, public fast charging, and public overnight charging. In the short term, depot charging will dominate, particularly for trucks on shorter routes. However, as electric trucks are increasingly used for medium- and long-haul operations, other types of chargers will gain importance.

Source: Arthur D. Little

A surge in the demand for energy

As electric trucks become more commonplace, the demand for energy will surge. By 2030, electric trucks could require close to half of the energy needed by their passenger vehicle counterparts, despite the fleet size being only around 1% of that of electric passenger vehicles. The increased energy demand will require significant expansion of renewable energy generation and grid infrastructure to meet the growing needs of the electric truck fleet.


The market for electric truck charging infrastructure is projected to grow rapidly, with a demand for over 400,000 chargers by 2030. While depot charging will dominate in terms of installed units, other types of chargers, particularly DC charging hardware, will contribute more significantly to revenue pools. As a result, the transition to electric trucks is expected to drive innovation in DC technology and potentially accelerate the growth of DC charging in the passenger vehicle market.

Source: Arthur D. Little

Inevitable electrification

In conclusion, the electrification of the trucking industry is inevitable, and the growing market for truck charging infrastructure presents immense opportunities for DC hardware manufacturers and charging providers. However, it will require significant investments and long-term planning. As the demand for electric trucks and charging infrastructure continues to rise, new market entrants have the chance to play a vital role in shaping the future of truck electrification and charging solutions. Governments, businesses, and industry stakeholders must collaborate to support this transition, expand renewable energy generation, and develop robust charging infrastructure to make electric trucks a profitable and sustainable reality for the transportation sector.


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