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The Class 6-8 trucks have evolved from a noisy vibrating machine, spewing tons of black smoke to quiet and clean diesels that are available now. The inclusion of more and more electronics has aided in developing more power, torque and keeping the emissions down. If we compare a truck of 1990s with today, the power has gone up by 30% for same displacement whereas the NOX emissions have come down by almost 30 times.
There has been a tremendous amount of work done by OEMs as well as suppliers to improve Class 6-8 truck engines.
As of 2018, we believe a strong labor market and consumer spending will be driving most of the freight growth in US. The growing Industrial automation in US factories is increasing the competitiveness of the US manufacturing.
The consistent increase in wages in China along with increasing shipping cost has further dented the rosiness of cheap Chinese imports. If it continues to be so in future as well then we might just see a lot more reduced freight originating from east coast and west coast ports, ultimately slowing down the demand for Class 8 truck engines.
Electrification and Downsizing are the biggest trends in class 6-8 truck engine market in North America. The long haul class 8 trucks typically cruise at around ~1100 RPM at 65 mph but the future targets for the same speed are in the range of ~900 RPM. The engine downsizing on the other hand will be useful in every possible application if the downsized engine is making as much power and torques as it was making earlier, only with less fuel required now.
There is a growing amount of electrification in powertrain of Class 8 trucks. Although we have earlier talked about electric trucks but here we are going to talk about the consolidated efforts to hybridize the powertrain with the help of an electric motors.
There are a lot of applications where the trucks spend bulk of their time on a fixed route(Ex- refuse collection) or being stationary(Ex-construction site). They are the ideal application for hybridization. Let’s say even if a hybrid arrangement in an electric motor takes away 10-15% of the vehicle load, then it would easily result in 7-8% of fuel economy improvement, which can optimize profitability of a fleet operator. Not to forget the reduction in exhaust emission which can be helpful in an environment conscious market like California.
The natural gas segment of Class 8 trucks in North America is predominantly used by refuse collection, a few line haul fleets and school bus operators. Majority of the volume comes from fleets who augment their existing natural gas fleet or want to replace their older trucks. One aspect, where the Diesels of today suffer is the complicated after- treatment systems attached to it. They not only reduce the payload of a truck but also increase its maintenance cost.
Over the past few years, the line haul segment has remained in contraction mode whereas the vocational segment has gained strength. The growth of this segment is closely related with growth of construction, concrete, oil and gas, mining and logging industries.
A lot of demand for vocational trucks also comes from cyclical replacement of trucks by fleets in pursuit of more fuel efficient and low maintenance vehicles. The vocational trucks need a robust and reliable engine, which is capable of handling longer work cycles at idle or lower RPM. Cummins, owing to its multiple decades experience and expertise is a market leader in vocational truck engines.
The interim GHG 2 will come in 2021 which will certainly push the price of class 8 tractors by ~5.5% .This might lead to pre buying activity before MY 2021 i.e. in 2019 and 2020.
The market size of Class 6-8 truck engine market in North America is estimated at XX units in 2018 growing at –% CAGR till 2023.
The Class 6-8 truck engine market in North America is fairly consolidated. Different classes have different market leaders.
Ford is the market leader in Class 6 segment with more than 33% market share. It manufactures most of its engines in-house.
Freightliner is the undisputed leader of the line haul segment with Cascadia being the best seller for more than a decade now. As of 2018, The Cascadia alone makes up for 20% of the Class 8 truck market in North America and DD13 is the most sought after engine spec.
Volvo has put its focus on serving the regional haul segment by launching its new VNR tractor. It has regularly stated over the past one year that regional haul is going to expand like never before.
Both Volvo and Freightliner indigenously manufacture their engines and source very little from external vendors.
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