Are you considering making the switch to electric trucks? Currently most suited to city and regional distribution, light construction and refuse assignments, they are becoming a more desirable proposition for many companies looking at a more sustainable future. Yet how profitable an investment could electric trucks prove to be?
Electric trucks currently cost more than diesel trucks. While there are many small companies supplying electric rebuilds – often subject to expensive repairs - the outlay for a new, first-generation electric truck is significantly more. If you are looking at total cost of ownership, this is not expected to be comparable with a diesel truck until 2023/24 at the earliest, at least in most European countries.
So are you willing to pay more? There are several reasons why companies are making the switch to electric, despite the initial costs. Firstly, sustainability is at the heart of creating a premium image in modern-day business. If marketing is important to what you do, then developing an environmentally conscious transport solution is an essential cornerstone for the future.
But the choice to go electric is not just about image-building. Ever-tighter emissions legislation in cities worldwide is already seeing diesel vehicles being banned from urban centres entirely. This has led to increased opportunities for electric vehicles when city authorities tender new contracts. The potential to perform night-time assignments with quieter vehicles is attractive for under-pressure authorities looking to minimize traffic congestion and noise pollution during the day.
Using fewer larger electric trucks rather than many smaller diesel trucks could also mean vastly improved transport efficiency and much lower overheads for businesses in the longer term.
Aside from initial investment, the two main issues for electric trucks today are battery cost and capacity, as well as charging infrastructure. The price of batteries is decreasing faster than many experts predicted. Lithium-ion batteries are becoming lighter and more powerful, while the next generation solid-state batteries are predicted to be a further breakthrough, meaning greater capacity and improved payload.
These advancements in technology mean that the next step for the electric truck market is long-haul. Charging an e-truck to travel around 150 km can currently be done overnight, yet the infrastructure needed to provide widespread electric power is still limited. Charging also needs to be synced with driver times which can create a puzzle for assignment planning. On the plus side, it is worth considering that all new charging stations currently being built for cars in Europe will also work for charging trucks.
Many transport providers are willing also to invest in their own charging facility. This is a potentially huge development, yet far from straightforward as it may require extensive rewiring to cope with the added power supply.
So there’s plenty to consider when thinking about buying an electric truck. Available for download below is a guide that I prepared with a list of the pros and cons of electromobility and the key questions you should ask yourself before deciding to go electric.
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