ACT Research Co.
4 min readApr 29, 2021


ACT Research: Electrification to Make Inroads into the North American Commercial Vehicle Market — Classes 4–8 EV Sales to Top 300,000 by 2040

ACT Research released its newest commercial electric vehicle (CEV) study, Charging Forward: 2020–2040 BEV & FCEV Forecast & Analysis, to charter subscribers on April 1 and is now making this report available to the public. This report is a follow-up to the landmark study, Commercial Vehicle Electrification: To Charge or Not To Charge, released in 2018.

The current study extends the forecast horizon to 2040, looks at additional vehicle applications in detail, and adds analysis of the potential for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle adoption for commercial vehicles. The foundation of the forecasts is a comprehensive total cost of ownership analysis covering 14 sub-segments and 23 applications types, ranging in vehicle size from Class 4 through Class 8.

The study outlines how CV electrification will benefit from a combination of advances in battery technology, environmental considerations and government policy, plus the potential for significant operational cost savings. CEV share gains are seen to grow from a small beachhead today to more than 40% by 2040 for the market in aggregate; some segments that are particularly conducive to electrification will see CEVs capture 75% or more of unit sales in the far years of the forecast horizon.

“We believe that electrification will offer a competitive solution for an increasing number of commercial vehicle segments as we look to the decade ahead and beyond,” said Jim Meil, Principal, Industry Analysis for ACT. Meil noted, “Initial adoption will likely be in shorter-range hauls with frequent stops and starts, regular and predictable routes, and daily return-to-base for overnight charging types of operations. Early adopters will tend to be in medium duty and highly specialized Class 8 applications that make the current limitations of battery storage technology more manageable.”

Regarding more distant time horizons, Meil commented, “As battery technology advances with chemistry and design upgrades, performance will improve, costs will drop, and a wider range of applications and duty cycles will open.”

When asked what makes this report different from others, Meil replied, “In addition to our unparalleled and award-winning insights into the North American commercial vehicle industry’s future prospects, subscribers to the study get a detailed written analysis (250+ pages) covering markets, technology, infrastructure and regulation; plus the full Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) model spreadsheets in Excel. The spreadsheets can be used as-is or can be filled with customer-specific data. One of the hallmarks of our work at ACT is full transparency — we want our subscribers to have our model, use our model, and see the thinking behind the results. Some clients who have TCO models can compare our work to theirs. Others can use our models to design and test “what if” scenarios of their choosing.”

The Charging Forward: 2020–2040 BEV & FCEV Forecast & Analysis study addresses client questions such as:

· What is the most likely trajectory for battery costs in the years ahead?

· Will the availability of key materials for battery manufacture, like cobalt and lithium, hinder the development of CEVs through higher cost or limited supply?

· Which market segments will see the fastest migration to electrification? Which will be the slowest? Why?

· How sensitive is the CEV market growth curve to changes in fuel prices? Electricity costs? Battery costs?

· What role will governments (federal, state/provincial, local) play in CEV sales through subsidies of electric vehicle purchases or limitations on internal combustion engines?

· What will be required in terms of utility infrastructure to make wider adoption of electric vehicles possible?

· What do customers and operators see as competitive advantages and drawbacks for CEVs?

· Where do hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles fit into the adoption options and when?

· What are the challenges and opportunities for FCEV technology and vehicle adoption?

Details about Charging Forward: 2020–2040 BEV & FCEV Forecast & Analysis, as well as how to purchase the report, can be found by clicking here.

ACT Research is recognized as the leading publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. ACT Research is a contributor to the Blue Chip Economic Indicators and a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel. ACT Research executives have received peer recognition, including election to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics, appointment as Consulting Economist to the National Private Truck Council, and the Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Economic Indicators’ Most Accurate Economic Forecast over a four-year period. ACT Research senior staff members have earned accolades including Chicago Federal Reserve Automotive Outlook Symposium Best Overall Forecast, Wall Street Journal Top Economic Outlook, and USA Today Top 10 Economic Forecasters. More information can be found at

What’s coming next in 2021 and 2022? ACT’s 65th OUTLOOK Seminar is the planning event for your business needs. Mark your calendar for August 24–26, 2021 to gain market updates and forecasts from ACT’s award-winning, veteran team with more than 200 years of combined industry experience. Click here for more details.



ACT Research Co.

ACT Research is the leader in commercial vehicle industry data, market analysis, and forecasting services for North America.