Trucking Survey Hits the Brakes on Electric and Hydrogen Trucks

October 22, 2018
40 percent of respondents listed M&R as their top motivating factor for acquiring new trucks

Fleet Advantage, a company engaged in truck fleet business analytics, equipment financing, and lifecycle cost management, recently released results of its latest annual benchmarking survey of trucking fleet executives on a variety of issues, and there are a few nuggets of interest for construction fleet managers with on-road trucks.

The online survey, presented to more than 1,000 fleet operators, covered topics such as the outlook for electric and hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, fuel economy trends, and how they view maintenance and repair (M&R), safety, and driver retention.

According to the survey results, 40 percent of respondents listed M&R as their top motivating factor for acquiring new trucks. M&R costs have become front and center in recent years, with more fleet personnel working with their finance departments to show them how significant M&R costs are to lowering their overall fleet costs.

However, the survey shows that costs are not the only concern fleets have regarding maintenance; 26.7 percent also believe a safe, well-maintained truck is most beneficial in driver recruitment and retention—critical since the driver shortage remains a difficult issue for many companies. Only compensation ranked higher as most beneficial in driver retention at 50 percent.

Fuel economy ranked second (36.7 percent) as a top motivator for truck replacement. This is especially important since 86 percent said they’ve experienced a consistent increase in fuel economy in model years 2013 through 2018. This perspective is further underscored by the fact that the recent price of diesel has increased above what industry forecasts projected. According to the latest North American Council for Freight Efficiency and its 2018 Annual Fleet Fuel Study, diesel recently increased to $3.28 per gallon, surpassing its projection of reaching just $2.72 in 2018.

The survey also asked questions on the topic of electric and hydrogen fuel-cell trucks. Only 4 percent of respondents said they are currently procuring these types of trucks, and 53 percent said they either do not see the value nor will they consider the technology for at least another 10 years.

Nearly a quarter of respondents (21 percent) also said they believe electric or hydrogen fuel-cell trucks will never be widely used for over-the-road operations. As for their reasons, 39.4 percent said they will not consider the technology because of limited fueling or charging station infrastructure, and 33.3 percent have concerns over the vehicle’s range or fuel economy.

“There continue to be several important issues shaping today’s transportation industry, many of which prompt fleets to make decisions that can greatly impact everything from their ability to attract drivers to their financial bottom line,” says Brian Holland, president and CFO of Fleet Advantage. “Gaining a better understanding of how industry professionals view topics such as fuel economy, truck replacement, and electrification helps us better understand where their asset strategies are headed.”

Source: Fleet Advantage

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