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Supply shortages and new EV registrations – 2022 was a big year for US commercial vehicles

As 2022 played out we learned that the supply shortage was far
more complex than microchips, and the shortages continued to wreak
havoc on new vehicle registrations. Even though fleets struggled to
replace vehicles at pre-pandemic rates, we started seeing the light
at the end of the tunnel. Overall in the United States, there were
1.85 million new commercial registrations (GVW 1-8) in 2022 which
was a 4% increase from 2021. Vehicles in operation continued to
climb to 30.1 million commercial vehicles on the road in 2022.
Since buy cycles have been delayed we are still seeing the average
age rise 4% with the average commercial vehicle age at 17 years

While the overall story of the last three years has been one of
challenges, the real eye-opener of 2022 was the dawn of the
electric commercial vehicle. The year 2022 saw 41,784 electric
vehicles registered to fleets (GVW 1-8) which was a 147% rise from
2021. Moreover, EVs are starting to find their niche in cargo vans,
pick-ups, and buses. All three of these vehicle types have daily
repeatable routes where the vehicle can return to the hub at the
end of the night, receive a full charge and repeat that route the
next day. Ford, Rivian, and Brightdrop controlled the EV market for
new cargo van registrations. Most of those cargo vans were
registered to freight, leasing, and service companies. Amazon,
Walmart, and FedEx were some of the bigger fleets registering these
vehicles. Fleets registering commercial pickups also took off in
2022. The Ford Lightning and Rivian R1T captured a majority of that
market with those vehicles being registered to construction and
lease/rental fleets. The current year 2023 expects to be promising
as EVs continue to gain steam in the commercial and fleet

In the balance of the current year, uncertainties remain in the
economic outlook, and recession in the United States still cannot
be ruled out. A particular concern that could impact truck demand
is the potential combination of a slowdown in investment spending,
as interest rates rise, and a possible slowdown in manufacturing
and transportation, as companies react to inventory buildup in
pockets across the economy. Still, S&P Global Mobility expects
improvements in vehicle selling rates during the year, with pent up
demand and better vehicle availability playing a key supporting
role. Overall, new registrations of Class 1-8 commercial vehicles
are expected to rise by as much as 10% y/y in the full year, based
on the latest published light vehicle forecast figures and an
interim update of S&P Global Mobility’s Medium & Heavy
Commercial Vehicle Forecast for North America. New registrations of
Class 4-8 medium- and heavy-duty trucks alone are expected to see a
rise of only about half of this overall rate, amid divergent
dynamics in individual weight classes. Upside opportunity exists,
particularly in the second half of the year. Beneath the surface,
the uptake of zero-emission (ZEV) trucks in the medium- and
heavy-commercial vehicle market is lagging that in the
light-commercial market. Nonetheless, there is a tailwind, and 2023
is expected to be the first year to see first registrations of
OEM-built ZEV trucks in the United States (excluding conversions)
break the 1,000 unit barrier.

Note: All data reflects GVW 1-8.

This article was published by S&P Global Mobility and not by S&P Global Ratings, which is a separately managed division of S&P Global.

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