Trucking Fleets to Invest in Electric, Hydrogen Vehicles

A TravelCenters of America survey found that 1 in 5 companies already have some EVs in their fleet.

August 12, 2022

WESTLAKE, Ohio—Leaders of the largest U.S. trucking fleets are moving forward with planning and investment in fleets powered by sustainable fuels, according to a new survey released by TravelCenters of America Inc. Fleet companies have begun investing in electric- and hydrogen-powered vehicles and expect to continue to do so in the next few years.

The survey was released as part of a new white paper from eTA, TA’s sustainability business unit, called “Sustainable Fuels in Trucking: The Greening of America’s Trucking Industry.”

Other key survey findings include:

  • One in five companies responding to the survey already have some electric vehicles in their fleet.
  • About half expect to have electric vehicles in their fleet by 2030.
  • Most responding companies anticipate that electric trucks will make up 11%-25% of their fleet by 2030.
  • Only 5% of fleets responding have hydrogen vehicles in their fleets today, but this number will likely increase to nearly 25% of fleets by 2030.
  • 9% of responding fleets currently have compressed natural gas vehicles, with very few anticipating they will make up a larger percentage of their fleets by 2030.
  • Very few responding companies seem interested in vehicles powered by renewable natural gas or liquified natural gas.

“This white paper, the first in a series about the trucking industry’s transition to sustainable fuels and TA’s role in that process, identifies the key challenges the industry is facing and the support it will need from federal and state governments to be successful,” said Jon Pertchik, chief executive officer of TravelCenters of America. “One of the key findings is that many companies are hesitant to fully commit to alternative energy vehicles until the technology and infrastructure have matured enough for them to maintain efficient operations during the transition period and beyond. 

“With the current range of EV and hydrogen-powered heavy-duty trucks, fleet leaders want to see a substantial number of available fast-charging and/or refueling stations before making larger investments in new vehicles. TA plans to be a leader in providing EV charging stations and hydrogen refueling for trucks at its over 275 travel centers as the industry adopts these sustainable fuels.”

Seventeen states, Washington, D.C., and Quebec have signed on to the “Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero-Emission Vehicle Action Plan,” which aims for 100% electrification of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales by 2050.

The plan is facilitated by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management. Nearly half of the U.S. population is represented under the plan, as well as 36% of the country’s medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Those jurisdictions participating in the plan have committed to strive for at least 30% electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales by 2030, and 100% by 2050.

The Fuels Institute and Guidehouse Insights published a study that explores the challenges the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (MHDV) market faces on the road to decarbonization.

"The MHDV market policies, targets and expectations cannot be the same as those for light-duty vehicles because the MHDV market is vastly more complex," said John Eichberger, Fuels Institute executive director. "Legislators, regulators and corporations need to understand this complexity as they set targets for policy and design incentive mechanisms for market suppliers."

There are a lot of optimistic projections about how fast electric vehicles will become a significant part of the future of transportation. However, none of them take into account the significant roadblocks inhibiting the installation of chargers. A recent NACS Convenience Matters podcast episode explores how convenience stores can and should play an integral role in an electric vehicle future.