Natural gas adoption in the heavy-duty truck market has grown, albeit at a slower rate than predicted, according to an ACT Research report.
In 2014, natural-gas-powered trucks had continued growth in unit sales, but the rate was about the same as the growth in the truck market as a whole. Sales for 2014 are expected to total 11,000 units, which is up 27% from 2013.
“Expectations have fallen from our initial analysis,” said Ken Vieth, general manager at ACT. “Factors contributing to the shifting ROI results include the price of diesel and meaningful improvements in overall fuel economy.”
The report also found that the large price gap between natural gas and diesel vehicles and early stage infrastructure build-out remain barriers for the market.
“The chicken and egg issue of infrastructure is being solved, albeit slowly, but the price of natural-gas-powered equipment still needs to be addressed, and this won’t be solved overnight,” said Vieth. “That’s why we call it an evolution and not a revolution.”
The study also asked trucking industry leaders to look to the longer term future of natural gas and offered insights based on extensive interviews, research and analysis. Participants in the study included manufacturers, suppliers, fleet operators, the fueling industry and other interested parties.