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US equipment industry eyes electrification

LAS VEGAS — Electrification in the equipment industry is building slowly in the United States but trails years behind Europe, which outpaces U.S. EV sales by about 2.5 million vehicles. 

“The biggest trend right now is electrification,” DLL Head of Regional Sales North America Gregory Stangl told Equipment Finance News at CONEXPO in Las Vegas. Electrification has “really taken off in Europe, and I would say they’re a couple of years ahead of Canada [and] the U.S.  

“It goes back to what the political landscape is in Europe compared to the U.S. We’re going to be several years behind Europe, and we’re really focused on that e-mobility piece,” Stangl said, referencing DLL’s construction, transportation and industrial team. “We’ve already signed several programs in Europe in that sector and we haven’t done much in the U.S.” 

In fact, 4.4 million EVs are sold in European Union countries compared with 1.9 million in the U.S. This equates to 997 and 556 vehicles per 100,000 people, respectively, based on 2022 population figures, according to data from Statista. 

Estimated electric vehicle unit sales per 100,000 population is ahead in the EU vs the United States.

Source: Statista Mobility Market Outlook

Europe is the second-largest region for publicly available chargers, trailing only China; the U.S. is the third-largest, according to analysis from the International Energy Agency. 

Fast charger public stock

Source: IEA, Fast publicly available chargers, 2015-2021, China (Light Blue), Europe (Dark Blue) United States (Light Green), Other countries (Dark Green)

“We’re in the infancy stages in the U.S.; we’re doing it in Europe now … the mobility piece last-mile delivery, and the goal is to get into the infrastructure piece, the charging stations,” Stangl told EFN.  

“That’s the same goal we have in the U.S.; we’re just going at it from an e-mobility perspective. Given everything that’s going on with the banking situation and venture capitalists … people are pulling back on the investment of [e-mobility startup companies], so I think it’s going to be a slower burn to get things moving in that space,” he added. 

Electrification also is growing in the construction industry. Several OEMs, including Bobcat, Caterpillar, John Deere, New Holland and Volvo, showed off new or prototype electric equipment at CONEXPO in Las Vegas this week. 

“E-mobility I wouldn’t say is construction-focused, but electrification — there’s still movement to get construction equipment into the electric space because we’re seeing hardly any of that in the U.S.,” Stangl said. “In Europe, we had manufacturing farmers at Bauma — which is like the European CONEXPO — with hydrogen-based solutions for equipment, as well as electric-based solutions, and we don’t really see that in the U.S.” 

DLL was the 10th-largest equipment financier in the U.S. in 2022, with $16 billion in managed assets., according to Monitor 100.