Long distances, opaque regulators: no easy ride for US truck electrification

Recent announcements suggest that things are picking up in the US electrified truck market, but regulatory uncertainty and battery limitations could create difficulties. By Xavier Boucherat

The North American trucking industry is of immense economic and cultural significance to those people who run it, and to those it serves. Just as in any major market, however, climate change, local pollution and technological advances mean that fleet operators are now under more pressure than ever to clean up their acts.

Electrification is guaranteed a role in this, and will prove an important strategy for US truck manufacturers over the coming years, says Clayton Slaughter, Senior Analyst and General Counsel at FTR Transportation Intelligence. Commercial vehicle engine manufacturer Cummins made this all too clear in August 2017 when it unveiled ‘Aeos’, an all-electric Class 7 truck prototype. Nikola Motors and Tesla have also been vocal on their work in the sector; the Nikola One was unveiled in December 2016, and Tesla plans to unveil an electric Class 8 tractor in late October 2017.

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