Why electric trucks will take much longer to hit the road

Posted by

Karthipriya S

With Tesla’s groundbreaking announcement regarding its Class 8 semi-truck, the conversation of switching to the zero-emission electric trucks has once again gained momentum. Over the past few years, the electric truck landscape has seen various players designing and deploying their version of Class 6 and Class 8 trucks that address the trucking and last-mile delivery industries. While this indicates that the path to commercial electric vehicles is promising, the ground reality provides a different outlook.

Large fleets and its skepticism of EVs

Recently, a survey was conducted with over 3,800 leaders from the transportation, logistics, corporate sustainability and energy sector to analyze their perception towards adopting electric trucks in their operations. Based on their response, the following findings were summarized.

  • 55% of the companies considered the higher purchasing price of EVs as their biggest barrier that stopped them from making the switch.
  • The infrastructure required for managing EVs, i.e. in terms of charging facilities, remained the most critical drawback with 44% stressing the lack of on-site charging facilities and 92% stating that they lacked the capability to handle commercial EV charging.

The undeniable benefits of EVs

While the survey highlighted the obstacles identified by the carriers, the companies could neither deny the numerous benefits that come with the adoption of electric mobility.

While the initial cost of setting electric trucks may seem higher in comparison with its diesel counterparts, the cost of running and maintaining such EVs is much lesser. First, the cost of running the electric trucks is less as charging your vehicle is less expensive than purchasing fuel. Second, unlike the traditional vehicles, EVs are built with fewer components and there are fewer instances of conducting maintenance on a regular basis.

Additionally, EVs play a vital role in achieving the goal of creating a sustainable and environmentally-friendly industry. With zero-emission trucks, government agencies and many other institutes are stressing the adoption of electric vehicles for a greener tomorrow.

The key players in the EV Market

Thankfully, the advancement in the EV landscape is still predominant. Tesla has announced to release its Class 8 semi-trucks in two versions, i.e. 600 mile model range for $180,000 and 300 mile model range for $150,000. The announcement has garnered much attention in the industry and Tesla has already recorded at least 2,000 pre-ordered trucks.

Meanwhile, Daimler has released two versions of all-electric Freightliner trucks. Where the heavy-duty truck offers a range of 250 miles and an ability to charge up to 80% of its capacity within 90 minutes, the medium-duty model is set to offer a 230-mile range and an ability to charge up to 80% of its capacity within 60 minutes. Thor is yet another company to offer Class 8 trucks at $150,000 for its 100-mile range model and $250,000 for its 300-mile range model.

Also, in the Class 6 truck category, many carriers such as UPS are partnering with Thor to deploy short-distance electric trucks. Even FedEx has chosen to explore the electric vehicle market by investing in 20 Tesla trucks. Also, DHL has decided to build its own range of trucks in the coming years.

Closing thoughts

While large fleets remain uncertain of switching to electric mobility, the adoption of electric vehicles in the future is certain. The key is to start small and set the foundation for building an infrastructure that will allow EVs to operate without any obstacles, making it easier to extract all its benefits.