ACT Research’s 66th Seminar Featured Truck, Transportation and Autonomy Panel Discussions

ACT Research began its 66th Seminar on February 23 with a panel discussion about the current state and future of US economics. Panelists included Bryan Bezold, Senior Economist at Ford, as well as ACT’s Principal, Industry Analyst, Jim Meil, and Chief Economist, Paul Traub. The day’s activities also featured a fireside chat with the EPA’s Bill Charmley, Director-Assessment & Standards Division, a medium-duty update with Blue Bird’s Executive Director of EV Sales, Albert Burleigh, a glimpse into the OEM perspective from Andy Brown, Volvo’s Product Marketing Manager-Electromobility, and a market perspective with Ryder’s John Diez, Executive Vice President & CFO. This was in addition to market reviews by ACT’s analysts, including Steve Tam, Ann Rundle, Lydia Vieth, Tim Denoyer, and Kenny Vieth.

ACT Research's Jim Meil Regarding inflation, Meil explained, “While it still looks to be a solid year ahead for the economy and for trucking, inflation is a trouble spot.” He added, “An array of factors converged last year in a ‘perfect storm’ for inflation and they are not going away any time soon. Therefore, in spite of Fed attempts to reel it in, inflation is going to stick around in a way we have not seen in more than 30 years.”

ACT Research's Tim DenoyerRegarding ACT’s Freight Forecast, Vice President & Senior Analyst, Tim Denoyer, commented, “The presentation focused on how supply and demand dynamics will shift in the truckload market in 2022 and 2023. Massive restocking demand continues, but with Omicron fading, we see procyclical labor participation and improving semiconductor supply helping the transportation market to de-bottleneck in 2022.”

Discussing the North American medium duty market, Steve Tam, ACT’s Vice President, noted, “Strong demand in the medium-duty market has been frustrated by the industry’s inability to deliver vehicles. Expectations are that gradual improvements in the supply-chain situation will lead to moderate growth in production and sales in 2022. Technological development, primarily electrification of light and medium-duty commercial vehicles, is still in an embryonic state, but shows great potential.”

ACT Research's Steve Tam

About the US used market, Tam said, “Unprecedented demand led to record prices in 2021, and this is expected to continue in at least early 2022. As freight hauling capacity rebalances, freight rates will start to fall, pulling profits and used truck demand down with them.”

Before the day concluded, audience members heard from Ann Rundle, ACT’s VP of Electrification and Autonomy, as well as Research Analyst-Electrification & Autonomy, Lydia Vieth, who shared an EV forecast. Rundle commented, “It was particularly rewarding to have the chance to share ACT Research’s forecast on the Global BEV and FCEV market for commercial vehicles at Seminar 66, after all the work that the team put into our CEV studies over the past 12-plus months. The advances in technology for both BEV and FCEV will bring about some significant changes in our industry over the next 20 years, and it was great to have the chance to share this with our seminar participants.” She continued, “In 2021, over 70% of vehicle applications have a positive TCO [total cost of ownership] for BEV compared to an ICE propulsion system, though adoption rates are still rather low at only 2%. With advancements in technology, by 2035 we forecast that commercial electric vehicles adoption rates will push past the tipping point of 50%, based on favorable TCO and investment payback considerations.”

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Day two of ACT Research’s semi-annual Outlook Seminar featured two panel discussions. The first focused on truckers and transportation and included Matt Harding, SVP Data Science at Transplace, Andrew Massaro, Procurement Manager at UPS, and ACT’s VP & Senior Analyst, Tim Denoyer, with ACT’s President, Kenny Vieth, moderating. Ann Rundle, ACT’s VP Electrification and Autonomy, moderated the second panel about autonomy and on-highway transportation, with featured guests Michael Wishart, Business Development Manager at TuSimple, Wiley Deck, Plus’ Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy, and Monika Darwish, Senior Corporate Counsel for Kodiak Robotics.

ACT Research's Ann Rundle Regarding the autonomy and on-highway transportation panel, Ann Rundle, ACT’s Vice President of Electrification and Autonomy, commented, “ACT Research was fortunate to have three panelists representing some of the top autonomy technology providers in the commercial vehicle industry. The panelists provided excellent insight on the impact that regulations, safety, sustainability, and labor considerations have on the implementation of level 4 driver-out autonomy for commercial vehicles.” She added, “Autonomous trucks that will provide level 4 actual driver-out capabilities are coming to our industry faster than many might expect. The panelists on the autonomy session were able to share for seminar participants a glimpse into the roll-out and timing considerations for driverless trucks, in an exciting and informative discussion.”

ACT Research holds two seminars per year for the benefit of its N.A. CV OUTLOOK and Freight Forecast: U.S. Rate and Volume OUTLOOK subscribers. The N.A. CV OUTLOOK is a robust report that forecasts the future of the industry, looking at the next 1-5 years, with the objective of giving OEMs, Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, and investment firms the information needed to plan accordingly for what is to come. The report provides a complete overview of the North American markets, as well as takes a deep dive into relevant, current market activity to highlight orders, production, and backlogs, shedding light on the forecast. Information included in this report covers forecasts and current market conditions for medium and heavy-duty trucks/tractors, and trailers, the macroeconomies of the US, Canada, and Mexico, publicly-traded carrier information, oil and fuel price impacts, freight and intermodal considerations, and regulatory environment impacts. The monthly 56-page ACT Freight Forecast report provides forecasts through 2023 for volumes and contract rates for the truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal sectors of the transportation industry, including the Cass Shipments Index and Cass Truckload Linehaul Index®. For the truckload spot market, the report forecasts rates through 2022. The Freight Forecast provides unmatched detail on the freight rate outlook, helping companies across the supply chain plan with greater visibility and less uncertainty.

ACT Research is recognized as the leading publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. ACT Research is a contributor to the Blue Chip Economic Indicators and a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel. ACT Research executives have received peer recognition, including election to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics, appointment as Consulting Economist to the National Private Truck Council, and the Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Economic Indicators’ Most Accurate Economic Forecast over a four-year period. ACT Research senior staff members have earned accolades including Chicago Federal Reserve Automotive Outlook Symposium Best Overall Forecast, Wall Street Journal Top Economic Outlook, and USA Today Top 10 Economic Forecasters. More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.

ACT’s 67th Seminar is scheduled for August 23-25, 2022. Look for more details on this event over the coming months and save the date for August’s event. When details are available, they may be found at www.actresearch.net.

ACT Research recently completed POWER UP, a look at 7 global regions and more than 20 countries in a review of local regulations, infrastructure, and the impact on the adoption of battery and fuel cell electric commercial vehicles through 2040. This forecast is the first of its kind, a review of the decarbonization of commercial vehicles around the world. POWER UP is now available at https://www.actresearch.net/power-up/

Additionally, ACT Research published an update to CHARGING FORWARD, a North American-centric battery and fuel cell electric vehicle adoption rate forecast, covering 23 vehicle applications, in Classes 4-8 commercial vehicles, through 2040. CHARGING FORWARD is considered by many industry leaders to be the apex of analysis and economic-based total cost of ownership modeling in the industry. And, it is now available for purchase at https://www.actresearch.net/electric-vehicles-charge/

Currently, the team at ACT Research is engaged in a commercial autonomous vehicle multi-client study. Through this work, we will identify adoption rates and forecast autonomous Classes 4-8 vehicles through 2040. If you’re working to understand the economic value proposition or the unit economics of different autonomous models, participation in this study is a must. Learn more at https://www.actresearch.net/autonomous-cv/

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