Cue up an old Beach Boys song and wax that surfboard; there's a huge wave of activity coming on in commercial vehicles across Classes 1-8. No surprise, with sales of trucks and vans doing well for some time—particularly pickups and larger vans—and increasingly capable medium-duty trucks, which offer the advantage of not requiring a CDL to operate and thus a larger available driver pool.
Sales and orders on the Class 8 end have recently shot through the roof, but have enjoyed a strong showing in construction and vocational trucks for longer. Maybe that has also helped drive OEMs' continued investment in new vehicles and clever technology and equipment upgrades for existing ones. Several years of low fuel prices along with increasing needs to move more goods than ever probably haven't hurt, either.
Yet there's an interesting trend going on that's partly—and opposingly—being fueled by those strong sales of larger vehicles and growing transportation needs due to things like e-commerce. Roads are getting more crowded, and air and noise pollution are more sharply in focus as a quality of life issue.
Though largely ceremonial so far, nations and localities have been moving to do away eventually with diesel and perhaps all internal combustion engines. Suddenly and very noticeably, electric trucks and electric powertrain add-ons are sprinkled throughout these new models. And technology including fast-advancing automation and better, cheaper batteries clearly is helping electric power ride the surging wave of trucks.
Light Duty (Classes 1-3)