Transport industry split between doubt, optimism for alternative fuels and technology

June 29, 2018
BOTH doubts and optimism about alternative fuels and technologies for the trucking industry were expressed

BOTH doubts and optimism about alternative fuels and technologies for the trucking industry were expressed by participants in an informal survey conducted by Hyliion at the recent Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Long Beach, California. Hyliion had Expo attendees answer an anonymous survey on iPads in front of the convention facility, as well as in the Hyliion booth.

When asked to evaluate industry trends as a whole:

• 48% of individuals identified all-electric vehicles as the most important trend,

• 35% chose the diesel hybrid electric,

• 17% chose the hydrogen fuel cell.

Of individuals who identified themselves with an “over the road” fleet, half of the respondents chose diesel hybrid electric as the “most important green trucking trend for their fleet”. When asked which trends they were not likely to adopt, respondents identified all-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Reasons given for shying away from those technologies included concerns over infrastructure, cost, and reliability of the technology. Fleets also indicated battery range and added weight as additional concerns for all-electric vehicles in an over-the-road application.

“The transportation industry’s evolution to a greener business is complex,” said Thomas Healy, Hyliion founder and chief executive officer. “Power requirements, infrastructure availability, range anxiety and evolving city regulations are just a few of the considerations in the evaluation of alternative fuel options being offered today. As with most technologies, the key to success is matching the right tool or technology to the situation. Regional trucking requirements are quite different than longhaul.

“The results from our recent survey show solid interest in integrating alternative fuel sources into their fleets within a year (almost 30%) and 50% within two years. While there was a lot of excitement about a pure electric longhaul solution, most of the individuals see utility distribution and technology issues delaying that reality for some time.”