Eco-conscious drivers have various electric vehicle options to choose from, but what about the semi-trucks that operate on America's roadways? Today, we'll be looking at the rise of electric semi-trucks and how these vehicles increase efficiency without sacrificing their high-mileage capabilities.
Top Electric Semi-Truck Manufacturers
While we can expect to see more electric truck manufacturing shortly, Volvo and Daimler have been early pioneers in the U.S., though Tesla isn't far behind.
Volvo Class 8 Electric Semi-Trucks
Volvo currently offers a class 8 electric truck in two tractor configurations: 4x2 and 6x2 and an electric box truck. These Volvo trucks feature a 264-kWh battery, allowing them to travel 150 miles on a single charge.
The drivetrain itself produces 455 hp and up to 4051 lb-ft torque and can sustain a top speed of 65 mph. These trucks are designed for daily delivery routes and a set distance, but drivers can easily charge the batteries during a midday break.
According to Volvo, operators can charge the battery to 80% capacity in as little as 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Daimler and Freightliner
Daimler has opened up pre-orders for the eM2 and eCascadia trucks under the Freightliner brand. Though these trucks are not set to enter production until 2022, Daimler claims that they will feature a range of 230 miles and 250 miles, respectively.
Perhaps more significantly, Daimler will be launching an "e-consulting" service designed to help logistics companies integrate these new vehicles into their fleets, guiding maintenance and charging options.
Much attention has centered around the forthcoming Tesla semi, though recent delays have pushed the delivery date to 2022. Elon Musk claims these trucks will have a range of 621 miles per charge. The trucks are powered by four electric motors and feature regenerative braking to prolong battery life.
Tesla would fit the trucks' base locations with a Megacharger, which would allow for fast recharging. Tesla claims that their electric trucks can go 400 miles after a 30-minute charge from one of these charging locations.
Early Adopters of Electric Semi-Trucks
UPS is slated to begin using electric delivery vans in the U.S., and Amazon is conducting similar research on delivery vans from Rivian. Other American logistics companies are also looking into the benefits of electric fleets.
In 2021, Quality Custom Distribution (QCD), a food service logistics supplier, placed an order for 14 trucks to serve its Southern California operations. This new fleet is expected to be in use by the Fall of 2021.
Slow Adoption Rate Among Logistics Companies
Despite this progress, many logistics companies are hesitant to integrate electric vehicles into their fleet. Naturally, many companies fear that electric trucks are less reliable than their diesel-powered counterparts or that the battery life would limit their available range.
Still, these recent advances bode well for the electric trucking industry, and it's likely that soon you'll be seeing these high-efficiency vehicles on a roadway near you.
The Future of American Logistics
Recent technological advances have allowed electric semi-trucks to go farther than ever before. Early adoption of these vehicles could represent a new era in shipping and logistics, making the process more efficient and environmentally friendly than ever before.