Trends in electric heavy-duty vehicles

In 2022, nearly 66 000 electric buses and 60 000 medium- and heavy-duty trucks were sold worldwide, representing about 4.5% of all bus sales and 1.2% of truck sales worldwide. China continues to dominate production and sales of electric (and fuel cell) trucks and buses. In 2022, 54 000 new electric buses and an estimated 52 000 electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks1 were sold in China, representing 18% and 4% of total sales in China and about 80% and 85% of global sales, respectively. In addition, many of the buses and trucks being sold in Latin America, North America and Europe are Chinese brands.

Electric truck registrations and sales share by region, 2015-2022


Electric bus registrations and sales share by region, 2015-2022


Within Europe, the sales share for electric buses was highest in Finland, where electric buses made up two-thirds of sales in 2022, Norway and the Netherlands, where they made up nearly half of sales, and Denmark, where they made up nearly one-third. Sales shares were also high in Sweden, Switzerland and Israel.

Electric trucks sales shares remain low across most major markets. With the exception of China, cumulative electric medium- and heavy-duty truck (“truck”) sales to date number in the hundreds in most countries (just under 2 000 electric trucks were sold across the entire European Union in 2022). Sales shares generally remain well under 1% in medium- and heavy-duty segments, with major shipping logistics companies running demonstrations of electric trucks in regional and long-haul electric operations.

The average declared range of electric trucks produced in China exceeded 300 km, and that of electric buses 400 km. A growing number of electric buses have ranges that enable intercity operations; the vast majority of electric buses in China (and elsewhere) are currently used in urban public transit operations, but official statistics show that at least 8% of new energy buses are operating on intercity routes.

The majority of electric trucks sold in China are box trucks,2 and 90% of electric truck sales were under 4.5 tonnes in gross vehicle weight (GVW), with the majority of these being between 3.5-4.5 tonnes. Electric truck sales for tractor-trailers and garbage trucks in China have also grown rapidly from a low base.

Until the past few years, the production and sales volumes of electric buses and trucks ebbed and flowed based on subsidies. The central government introduced subsidies totalling nearly CNY 30 billion (Chinese Yuan renminbi) (USD 4.3 billion) in 2016 and 2017, the vast majority of which went to electric buses; BYD buses alone received about CNY 10 billion (USD 1.5 billion). Despite a progressive reduction in subsidies from 2018 onwards (total subsidies from 2018-2021 were less than CNY 20 billion [USD 2.9 billion]), electric bus and truck sales began increasing in 2021 and grew again in 2022, a promising sign that they have reached cost and performance metrics that make them increasingly competitive without government support. Cost reductions are also being driven by market consolidation and economies of scale. Indeed, China's commercial electric truck sales (including both LCVs and medium- and heavy-duty trucks – see section above on electric LCVs) dipped from a high of nearly 150 000 in 2017 (immediately following the adoption of the subsidy) to a low point in 2020, at 59 000; before rebounding to reach 186 000 total electric truck sales in 2022, despite declining subsidies on a per-vehicle basis in both 2021 and 2022.

The number of models on offer for zero-emission trucks has continued to expand in 2022, with nearly 840 current and announced medium- and heavy-duty vehicle models in the Global Drive to Zero Emission Technology Inventory (ZETI) database.

The trend of new model development has shifted from buses to medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Of the 220 models that became available in 2022, more than half were either medium-duty trucks (over 60 models) or heavy-duty trucks (over 50 models), reflecting the fact that truck manufacturers are increasingly gaining confidence in supplying larger, heavier zero-emission models with greater payloads. The majority (over 90%) of the already available medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks models are battery electric; 12 models of fuel cell heavy-duty trucks are currently available – and another 8 are due to become available in 2023-24.

Of commercially available bus and truck models in 2022, 60% (over 500 models) were produced by OEMs headquartered in China. Another 20% (over 170 models) were produced by North American OEMs, and 15% (over 120 models) by European OEMs.

Current and announced zero-emission commercial vehicle models by type, release date and range, 2019-2023

Current And Announced Zero Emission Commercial Vehicle Models By Type Release Date And Range 2019 2023

Notes: Although the inventory is continuously updated, this snapshot may not be fully comprehensive due to new model announcements and small manufacturers not yet captured in the inventory. Zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) include battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). “Other” includes garbage, bucket, concrete mixer, mobile commercial and street sweeper trucks. The heavy-duty truck and transit bus figures include announced models for 2023-2024. Source: IEA analysis based on the Global Drive to Zero ZETI tool database (

European and North American electric bus and truck makers rely heavily on Asian battery makers. Given their dominance in lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery chemistries, China’s CATL produces the vast majority of batteries for trucks. However, spurred on by industrial policies – the European Union’s Green Industrial Plan and the United States’ IRA – truck makers have already begun to build or are announcing investments in new production facilities for heavy-duty battery packs (such as Volvo’s 2.7 GWh plant, which opened in Sweden in 2022). Truck makers have also entered collaborations with major cell makers, seeking to secure further opportunities for vertical integration.

More than 95% of heavy-duty trucks produced in China were equipped with LFP cathode chemistries in 2021. The durability and lower cost of LFP batteries make them the preferred choice not only because of the high lifetime mileage needed for commercial operations, but also because price is a concern for bus and truck buyers: over half of truck purchases are leases or rely on loans.

The battery capacity of currently available commercial and announced models included in the ZETI database within a given vehicle type generally correlates with declared vehicle range . The table below shows how average battery capacity has generally increased across most bus categories from 2019 to 2022. However, no such clear trend is apparent across coaches or truck categories. 

Average battery capacity in medium- and heavy-duty vehicle models

Vehicle Category

Average Battery Capacity (kWh)






Change 2019- 2022

Transit bus






School bus






Shuttle bus












Cargo van






Medium-duty step van






Medium-duty truck






Heavy-duty truck






Yard tractor






* Change from 2020 to 2022 average, as no medium-duty step vans were sold in 2019. Source: IEA analysis based on the Global Drive to Zero ZETI tool database (

Actual vehicle range depends on the loaded vehicle weight, duty cycle, aerodynamics and drivetrain efficiency, as well as environmental factors such as temperature. In addition, as no harmonised test procedure currently exists to measure electric range for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in any of the major markets where deployment of electric trucks has begun, manufacturers can determine their own methods to declare the electric range of the commercially available and announced models. However, any standardised test procedure would need to consider complicated issues of non-motive energy consumption (e.g. heating ventilation and air conditioning in buses, cooling in refrigerated trucks), as well as the potential for buses and trucks to be used in vehicle-to-grid applications (as has been demonstrated, for instance, with electric school buses in the United States). In light of such considerations, a first regulatory step could be to mandate that electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicle makers measure and disclose the usable battery energy according to a yet-to-be-developed standardised measurement procedure. 

  1. Commercial truck sales in China are reported according to four GVW bins: less than 1.8 tonnes, 1.8-6 tonnes, 6-14 tonnes, and greater than 14 tonnes. These are reallocated to categories based on other external data sources to match IEA’s harmonised global definitions of light commercial vehicles (less than 3.5 tonnes GVW), medium trucks (3.5-15 tonnes), and heavy trucks (15 tonnes GVW and above). 

  2. Box trucks are light commercial and medium-duty chassis cab trucks with an enclosed box-shaped cargo space in the back.