Jun 16, 2020 - Energy & Environment

China dominates electric trucking

Data: IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals

To say that China dominates the electrified trucking market would be kind of an understatement, but the vehicle sales appear poised to grow more globally — and soon.

The big picture: The vast majority of annual sales are in China, while in the U.S. and Europe, "most heavy-duty electric truck activity is in demonstration and customer trials," the International Energy Agency notes in its latest snapshot of electric vehicle trends and policies.

  • Tesla plans to bring its semitruck into volume production. More broadly a suite of companies — including startups and legacy players like Daimler — hope to scale up production of battery-powered models.
  • Most recently there's been a burst of attention on the startup Nikola Motors, which is planning to start building battery-powered and hydrogen fuel-cell models.
  • Nikola says it has 14,000 preorders for its fuel-cell heavy-duty truck slated to begin production in 2023, and a spokesperson tells me they're mostly in the U.S., Europe and Canada.

What we're watching: The shifting policy landscape could broaden adoption outside China, where vehicle electrification has lots of domestic policy support.

  • Later this month, California regulators will consider plans to mandate major increases in deployment of zero-emissions trucks.
  • European climate regulations are expected to drive increased sales there, while Joe Biden has signaled that heavy vehicles would be one focus of his climate policy.
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