Since the diesel engine has been around our whole lives, it can be hard to imagine anything taking its place. But 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. The volume-weighted average price of a lithium-ion battery pack fell 85% in real terms since 2010. Meanwhile, 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, 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 can potentially be cut drastically, by, for example, changing the electrode material in lithium-ion batteries.
As the price of electric vehicles goes down, choosing electric could become a question of preference rather than 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 sustainably.
Just how quick all of this will happen is of course the ultimate question. What is clear though is that the switch to electric vehicles is going faster than many have anticipated. Electromobility in cities is here!
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