Electric fleets are on their way -- sooner than you may think.
There are about 5 million electric vehicles on the road today, which is projected to increase to as much as 100 million by 2035. Much of this prediction has to do with recent, rapid improvements in battery technology, which will allow such vehicles to travel further before needing a recharge.
Fleets of electric vans and trucks are actually already appearing on roads in the US (and beyond).
Apart even from the positive impact this would have on the environment, here’s why this could be a good thing for trucking.
Efficiency Will Increase
You know we at NEXT love efficiency.
Traditional vehicles running on combustion generally have a 30% efficiency rate, in terms of converted energy that is actually used for driving. However, vehicles that run on electricity boast an 80% efficiency rate, losing much less power to heat, sound and other forms of energy loss.
When experts talk about clean energy, they’re not only talking about carbon emissions. They’re taking these facts into consideration -- energy saved that can be more effectively utilized to get you where you have to go, without avoidable waste.
They’re Cheaper, In The Long Run
A recent study has shown promising results, in terms of rationalizing the potentially higher up-front costs of electric semi-trucks.
Again, it comes around to batteries. There very well may be a shortage of power stations (in the right places, particularly in the early days) that will be needed for recharging trucks as often as will be necessary.
But batteries that could last longer in both the short term (on the road) and the long (from year-to-year) may soon bring efficiency to such high levels that it could make sense to invest in electric now, as costs are reduced elsewhere and continue to trend downwards as the industry catches up.
Many of the frequently-mentioned advantages of electric trucks have been discussed before. There’s that efficiency we’ve talked about, there are no harmful emissions, and they’re very, very quiet.
Maybe we’ve grown used to trucks not being quiet...but consider this...
Quiet electric trucks are so quiet, that they can be used during off-hours, when the far noisier engines of diesel trucks have been made illegal. This has allowed some shippers and receivers utilizing electric vehicles to save money in a less-crowded supply chain, a pattern that can also be duplicated more frequently once the added savings of increased efficiency are factored in.
How does this work exactly? Well, businesses like stores and restaurants can reduce on-hand inventory, due to the increased availability of shipments. So, you drive the same goods in smaller quantities quietly during the night, more often -- and everyone is making more money in less time.
Conclusion: So, Just How Soon Is This Happening?
Oh, it is happening soon.
Thor builds added redundancy into its power cells to decrease the dangers of running out of power between charges, and has also incorporated an air-driven cooling system that reduces weight (due to not requiring liquid coolants) and increases safety (no liquid coolants means no leaks from such sources).
You add all of what we have mentioned in this post together, and it’s likely just a matter of when, not if, fleets become more electric on average than diesel.
Smart shippers and fleet managers would do well to keep up on these rapid advances in electric truck technology. We will continue to keep you posted.