No one really knows what the future will hold for the trucking industry, but I think it’s safe to say it’s going to look different.
We are already seeing fleets exploring electrification, and there have been many developments in the autonomous vehicle space.
Recently, two news items got me thinking about what the future of trucking might look like. According to Charging Forward, ACT Research’s report on fleet decarbonization efforts, a quarter of commercial vehicles will be zero-emission models by 2030. The report also said that 50% of vehicles would be zero emission by 2040.
The second item was about Roland Berger, a global consulting firm. They are predicting that by 2034, 20% to 30% of trucks on the road will be autonomous.
It’s impossible to predict with 100% certainty what the future will hold, but even if ACT Research and Roland Berger are wrong about the actual percentage of electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles, the reality is that both of those technologies are already available.
Some fleets are edging into electric vehicles, but others are being more aggressive about electrifying certain parts of their operation. Several firms have exited the AV market, but new companies are entering the space with new technology options, and we continue to see AV tests in various states.
I am not saying that you have to go all in on either of these technologies. The truth is neither of them is right for all trucking applications. However, I suggest that you begin researching and having conversations with your trusted partners about how these technologies might be leveraged to make your operations more efficient.
None of us can afford to hide our heads in the sand and pretend that these changes aren’t coming. Regulations and societal pressures are at play and are pushing trucking to be cleaner. This does not discount how much cleaner diesel engines are than they were in the past, but the spotlight is on trucking to continue to reduce its carbon footprint.
Every journey begins with a first step. Each of us needs to take that first step very soon.