Mega trucks are seen as a solution to growing problems faced due to road congestion and emissions by reducing the need for more conventional sized trucks on the road. They also lower cost per ton for fleets along with addressing growing freight demand. However, significant obstacles lay ahead of implementation of mega trucks with serious questions being raised about its safety and its impact on infrastructure and environment. Overcoming legislative hurdles and negative public opinion will be key in promoting case of mega trucks in future. By improving safety features and advocating use of light-weighting technologies, the trucking industry could improve feasibility of mega trucks.
Australia leads the current use of mega trucks in terms of penetration rate followed by North America and Europe. In future North America is expected to further extend its lead over Europe in use of mega trucks driven by a stronger and more favorable mandate and support infrastructure. Mega trucks provide growth opportunities for companies in the safety systems and light-weighting sectors. They also provide opportunities for OEMs to invest in above mentioned sectors as well as other tech companies involved in telematics and mobile based freight aggregation.
Digital transformation and autonomous trucking will play a key part in expediting the adoption of mega trucks through better connectivity and safety features. With bigger engines and higher payload capacities, mega trucks are expected to incorporate more value features, especially in developing markets. Mega trucks in the future will be built on common platforms for similar markets such as China, India, and South America. Growth of most mega trucks is expected to come from North America, which will nearly double its sales in 2025 compared to 2016, leading to nearly half of global mega truck sales. This will largely be driven by favourable regulations, further upgrading of existing infrastructure and increasing demand for freight optimization. Gradual proliferation of mega trucks is expected in emerging markets such as China and India with a very cautious increase in weight and length limits.
Growth of mega trucks is also highly dependent on lawmakers in specific regions laying down regulations taking into account its impact on infrastructure, environment, society and other modes of transport. North America is expected to accommodate more mega trucks in the future, while Europe is expected to be more skeptical and cautious in its implementation. Emerging economies such as China and India are expected to extend limits on truck weight and length only marginally in the long term, with infrastructure development likely to be a key factor, especially in India.
Proliferation of mega trucks, where on average 2 mega trucks would replace 3 normal-sized trucks, will have negative impact on sales of trucks affecting OEM revenues. This, however, presents an opportunity for these companies to create an alternate source of revenue through either investing in or acquiring companies present in the safety, lightweighting, telematics, and mobile-based freight aggregation field. This will also push tier-I companies to upgrade the existing technology to compete and meet the needs of the OEMs and fleets.