The whole transport industry is facing tough demands to improve its climate impact. To speed up the transition towards more sustainable transports, Volvo Trucks’ objective is for its entire product range to be fossil-free by 2040. Electric trucks will play a key role to achieve this. It may sound as an unrealistic target, but in fact, the switch to electric vehicles is set to go much faster than most have anticipated. Here are some reasons why.
Although an electric truck has a higher sticker price than a conventional vehicle today, the low number of moving parts in an electric engine mean they often have longer lifecycles and need less maintenance. Meanwhile, the price of batteries is decreasing at a rate that’s outpacing most analysts’ expectations. Ongoing investment in the renewable energy sector is bringing down costs of generating electricity to the point where running a truck on electricity will be a fraction of the cost of diesel.
As demand for electric vehicles has shot up, battery innovation is also accelerating. Lighter, lithium-ion batteries are about a third of the weight and half of the volume when compared to lead-acid. And they are becoming even lighter and more powerful as the tech improves. Even more gains could be made with the next generation of batteries, known as solid-state batteries. These charge faster, are safer and deliver up to twice the battery density of today’s lithium-ion batteries, which could potentially double the range.
Today, charging an electric truck for shorter-range tasks can be easily done overnight. While infrastructure for fast-charging trucks is still small, it is expanding as cities, logistics centers, automakers and gas stations look to cater to an emerging demand. And new technologies including smart chargers and smart batteries are making ultra-fast charging possible under a broader range of conditions. New discoveries are also demonstrating that charging speeds will be increased drastically by improvements of lithium-ion batteries.
As the price of electric vehicles goes down, choosing electric could become more than a question of sustainability and cost. Electric trucks are also proving popular with drivers because they generate fewer vibrations than traditional diesel vehicles. They are easier to manoeuvre and park, making them well-suited to urban driving and deliveries. As a low-carbon option with no tailpipe emissions, electric trucks are proving popular with companies that want to operate more sustainably.
The switch to electric vehicles could go faster than many have anticipated. At least, there are many signs indicating this development. And electric trucks are already rolling on our streets in real operation.
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