As the commercial trucking industry increasingly considers adopting electric trucks for their fleets, Commercial Truck Trader sought feedback from their social media followers on what they believed were the biggest issues with electric trucks.
A recent survey conducted by Commercial Truck Trader found that commercial heavy-duty vehicle owners have compelling reasons to adopt electric trucks. Of those surveyed, 44% were motivated by the potential cost savings at the gas pump, while 21% were drawn to the lower emissions produced by electric trucks.
Additionally, 30% cited the reduced maintenance required by the electric powertrain. These factors make electric trucks an attractive option for companies looking to improve their bottom line and reduce their environmental impact. But…
Despite these advantages, the adoption of electric trucks in the commercial heavy-duty sector faces significant resistance. In fact, 79% of respondents stated they would never consider adding an electric vehicle to their fleet.
The vast majority of heavy-duty vehicle owners say they will never add an electric truck to their fleet.
However, there is still hope as 5% of respondents plan to adopt electric vehicles immediately, and an additional 4% plan to do so within the next five years. Furthermore, 13% of respondents indicated they might consider adopting electric vehicles in the future.
The survey also revealed the top drawbacks to the adoption of electric trucks in the commercial heavy-duty sector. The majority of respondents – 57% – were concerned about low range or battery life, while 49% were worried about charging time and 45% were concerned about finding a charging station. Only 11% of respondents said they saw no drawbacks to electric trucks.
30% of the respondents in the survey stated that they would have a different attitude towards electric trucks if they had testimonials from current electric truck owners. Moreover, 22% of respondents noted that their perception of electric trucks would change if they saw other fleets using them.
Electric Truck Obstacles
One significant obstacle to EV adoption is a lack of infrastructure to support commercial electric truck fleets. Charging station availability is low for local and over the road (OTR) applications, along with off-road and construction sites. This lack of infrastructure may contribute to concerns about range anxiety, which is the fear that a vehicle will run out of power before reaching its destination.
The longest distance an electric truck has gone on a single charge is 683 miles. However, this record was set by a delivery truck operating in a controlled environment while carrying no cargo. Fleet operators are more interested in the range that can be achieved by commercial long-haulers carrying heavy loads that encounter varying conditions along the way.
There are a variety of factors that can affect battery range, including the weight of the payload, the outside air temperature, the type of elevation a truck will encounter along the journey, the speed the vehicle is driven, and the number of stops made along the way.
Reducing Environmental Challenges
Although medium- and heavy-duty vehicles only make up around 5% of the vehicles on American roads, they still represent a substantial fleet of 15.5 million vehicles, including two million tractor-trailers. The trucking industry is responsible for transporting over 70% of all freight tonnage in the country, but this comes at a cost of burning 52.3 billion gallons of diesel fuel annually.
Environmentalists and the federal government are deeply concerned about the consumption of fossil fuels and the resulting pollution. In response, the Department of Energy has introduced a tax credit that can cover up to 30% of the total cost of purchasing a commercial Electric Vehicle (EV) or Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV), not exceeding $40,000 for vehicles above 14,000 pounds.
Large fleets such as Amazon, Walmart, and FedEx are taking advantage of these tax credits and enhancing their reputation with consumers who care about the environment.
Overcoming “Range Anxiety” in Electric Trucks
Replacing all current commercial vehicles with zero-emission vehicles is a lofty goal that will require a significant number of charging stations to accommodate the sheer number of vehicles on the road.
Today, electric heavy-duty trucks typically take at least 30 minutes to reach a 70% charge. If all 2 million heavy-duty trucks were to be replaced with BEVs, we would need a massive infrastructure of charging stations and the energy to support them.
Fortunately, ongoing advancements in battery construction and chemistry are making electric vehicle batteries more efficient and long-lasting. These improvements are translating to increased distance and range per charge.
For example, Tesla’s recently unveiled fully electric Tesla Semi can allegedly drive up to 500 miles on a single charge, and its battery can be charged to 70% within just 30 minutes. This is a significant development in the EV industry, and it’s likely that other truck manufacturers are already taking note and working on ways to increase their vehicle’s range and charging speed.
As more fleets adopt electric trucks, infrastructure to support them will become more widely available, making charging stations more accessible to drivers.
The future of the commercial trucking industry may be electric vehicles, but how long until diesel is knocked from its throne remains to be seen.
Exciting technological advances in this field continue to emerge, and we at The Heavy Duty Parts Report are always eager to share the latest developments. Check out some of our related news here: Do EVs Have More Emissions Than Diesel Powered Trucks?