There’s ongoing discussions about converting commercial fleets to electric vehicles (EV). Most companies seem to be taking a wait and see approach to see how the technology develops and the infrastructure establishes itself to make it a viable option. The case for smaller EVs is obviously making progress, even if it isn’t as fast as some would like. But what about heavy duty OTR fleets? Will they be converting aging diesel trucks to electricity anytime soon?
Green or green?
While the case for going green seems an obvious one, it appears those making the purchasing decisions for a lot of companies these days still aren’t convinced. In a recent blog post, logistics commentator Martin Murray mentioned that environmental concerns are not the high priority we might think they are.
A recent survey found that purchasing professionals indicated that price is still the most important factor when they are making purchasing decisions, followed by safety features at 57 percent and energy efficiency at 48 percent.
Although this report highlights that purchasing professionals are still looking at price over any environmental factors, consumers are still looking to purchase items from companies who are making attempts to make their supply chain green.
While purchasing professionals are not the tree hugging greenies some might have hoped they’d become by now in this age of heightened environmental consciousness, the report showed it’s still a factor. But will that influence fleet owners to start looking into electric or hybrid trucks?
Are heavy duty EV trucks available?
The technology is here but it’s definitely not mainstream and there’s every chance it may be some time before it does become commonly available.
To show that heavy duty trucks are not only possible, but available right now, the Port of Los Angeles showcased their very own EV heavy duty truck, powered by electricity and hauling 60,000 pound shipping containers short distances to nearby railyards, as demonstrated in the video below.
The downside is of course the truck’s range but as battery life improves, and charging stations appear, there’s a strong chance more heavy duty EV trucks will be adopted by environmentally-minded trucking fleets such as Coca-Cola and AT&T, companies that are already making great strides in adopting green fleet technology.
Challenges ahead for EV trucking fleets
Like other fleets contemplating replacing gas-burning, diesel blowing vehicles with clean, green EVs, long haul trucking fleets face similar problems if they adopt electric trucks.
Issues such as adopting new fleet management methods, considering factors such as:
- Life and health of asset concerns
- Range anxiety – How many miles can they go?
- Are there charging stations en route?
- Route gradient – You want to drive downhill as much as possible
- Is it economically sustainable – What is the ongoing cost to maintain the hybrid/EV engine
- Will it require more or less maintenance?
Fortunately there are technology companies that are not only helping trucking fleets go green right now, with their existing internal combustion vehicles but also planning ahead for the new challenges of an EV truck fleet. Telogis fleet management software is constantly looking at ways to meet the future needs of fleets as they tackle the unique demands of running an electric trucking fleet.