May 23, 2024

By James Carter, Principal Consultant, Vision Mobility

The biggest event for the year in clean medium and heavy-duty transportation is hashtag#ACTExpo, and this year it did not disappoint. 

After walking the show and talking with people from C suite execs to operators, here is the 5 top trends at ACT Expo this year.

1) Tesla Semi is real, and it's a FORCE to be reckoned with.

ACT Expo 2024 was the first time that the Tesla Semi has been shown at an industry event. Not only could you see it, but you could also drive it.

The truck remains utterly class leading in range, charging time and efficiency, and more innovation is coming with PTO drive and reefer units powered by the truck battery.

Seven years later, it's still the benchmark. 

2) A flood of new OEM EV brands

I watch this industry closely, yet there was new EV brands I'd never heard of. Not just for trucks and buses, but also trailers, energy systems and Tier 1 suppliers. 

Why? Compared to light duty, barriers to entry are lower, and battery tech is improving with costs reducing.

3) Energy Storage

I was quite amazed how many different types of energy storage systems I saw. While mostly battery packs, ranging from jump starters to crate sized battery packs, and trailer batteries, there was all sorts of ideas to get power to where you need it.

4) Electric = Hardware innovation

If you think trucks are leaf spring carts with chassis rails, think again. 

Battery electric is a huge enabler, and I saw hardware tech like Independent suspension, new battery pack designs, four wheel drive, four wheel steering with rack and pinion, low cab heights, screens absolutely everywhere and all sorts of e-axle and motor tech.

Outside of vehicles I saw Megawatt Charging everywhere and even robotic charging systems, as well as electric powered trailers and off road equipment 

5) Electric = Software Innovation 

With electric coming on line, it feels like a huge driver towards Software innovation. I saw impressive ADAS systems, Sentry Mode like security monitoring, Over the Air updates, Steer by Wire, and other cool tech.

Fortunately, I was able to get a full run down of this tech from the experts at Vision Mobility client Cerence Inc., a leader in AI for Mobility, and who made this post possible. 

Cerence is leveraging its extensive expertise and innovative Generative AI-driven voice solutions to enhance road safety. Their Emergency Vehicle Detection (EVD) solution uses software and hardware integration to identify sirens from emergency vehicles. EVD gives trucks the “ears of the road“ as we move through the different levels of vehicle autonomy. 

What were your impressions of ACT 2024? What were the top things that stood out for you? Head over to LinkedIn to share your thoughts. 

This post originally appeared on James Carter's LinkedIn page here.

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