What barriers will your fleet face in the transition to zero emissions?

What barriers will your fleet face in the transition to zero emissions?

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have the potential to offer several benefits to operators: lower fuel costs, reduced maintenance costs, and lower total cost of ownership (TCO). However, there are still several barriers that must be overcome before the industry sees full adoption of BEVs and their benefits.

These barriers include:

  • Limited range
  • Higher upfront cost
  • Limited charging infrastructure
  • Unknown component reliability
  • Increased vehicle weight
  • Expected battery life

Out of this list, the most critical are limited charging infrastructure and range. Both of these limitations will be improved within the next 10 years, but until then it will be more difficult for fleets to adopt BEVs.

Limited charging infrastructure

The lack of charging infrastructure can be resolved by state governments, utilities, equipment providers, and customers working together. The vast majority of fleets are planning to install their own charging infrastructure, instead of relying on third-party sites. This means that the responsibility of implementation rests with the transportation company. The largest barrier companies face is cost. This makes available state and federal incentives and rebates critical. The timeline for planning and installing a charging infrastructure is typically two years or more. Fleets should begin discussing their charging equipment needs and layout now.

Limited range

Range anxiety, a term that has been coined within the transportation industry, is the apprehension that comes from not knowing if a vehicle will make it to a charging station before running out of power. The range of BEVs will gradually improve as battery power density improves. In the meantime, range anxiety can be mitigated by fleets using advanced features such as real-time range prediction, advanced route planning, and accessory power consumption estimation.

Initially, vehicle range is expected to be between 100 and 250 miles for most light- and medium-duty vehicles, with a higher range typically accompanying higher Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The estimates in the chart below do not consider the decreased range experienced when a TRU pulls power from the chassis, which could impact the range by 30% in some cases. To minimize range loss from TRU operation, drivers should plan to pre-cool their vehicles as much as possible during stationary operation.

EV Range Numbers

One technology that continues to make progress and helps improve a BEV’s range is fuel cell technology.

Progress of fuel cell technology

Fuel cell technology is making progress. In the last two years, it has gained industry acceptance as a viable technology to replace diesel. However, there are a few obstacles that are preventing the industry from clearly seeing the future of this technology. Durability, system cost, fuel availability, and hydrogen fuel prices are the main obstacles that need to be addressed. Fuel cell technology can be a viable replacement for diesel and act as a range extender for BEVs. However, the use of fuel cell technology is not plug and play, and the hydrogen supply chain will create a sharp learning curve for fleets.

RELATED: Hydrogen trucks: How seriously should we take this technology?

Fuel cell technology will likely be best suited for long-haul or regional trucking applications. There are still concerns around how heavy a fuel cell truck could be — potentially 5,000 lbs. more than a diesel truck. Ultimately, economics will drive fuel cell usage in trucking. Fuel availability and pricing will play a heavy hand when it comes time to make decisions about technology investment and fleet adoption, as well as whether or not a hydrogen economy materializes within the next couple of years.

Light- and medium-duty vehicles are in the midst of transitioning to zero-emission technology, and heavy-duty trucks will follow. But full adoption won’t be possible until the obstacles around charging infrastructure and limited range are addressed.

This article was contributed by Paul Kroes, the market insights leader for Thermo King Americas. Learn more about electrification solutions from Thermo King here.

You May Also Like

How technology can improve driver safety for small fleets

In 2022, transportation incidents accounted for over 37% of all occupational deaths, making them the most frequent on-the-job fatal event.

box-truck-generic-1400

For years, transportation workers have had one of the most dangerous jobs. In December 2023, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics shared in its 2022 National Census Of Fatal Occupational Injuries report that transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of occupational fatal events, accounting for over 37% of all fatalities.

Lytx integrates data management with Fleetio

The company says paring its telematics with Fleetio’s platform will quickly give customers insights to improve maintenance workflow.

Lytx-telematics-integrates-with-Fleetio-GENERIC
The biggest takeaways from Geotab Connect 2024

Here are some of the highlights from the event’s keynote address from CEO Neil Cawse and other company executives.

ISEE fully autonomous truck yard up and running

ISEE claims the autonomous truck yard will be help improve safety, efficiency and staffing concerns.

ISEE-autonomous-truck-yard
Geotab introduces new fleet safety tools

Geotab Safety Center and Enhanced Collision Detection are among the new offerings for 2024.

Other Posts

Grote demonstrates 4SEE Smart Trailer System at TMC 2024

Demonstrated in a ride-along event at TMC, Grote teamed up with Stoneridge to add a new backup camera to its 4SEE system.

Grote-Stoneridge-TMC-ride-and-drive-external
Phillips touts T/T Pair tractor, trailer ‘smart seven-way socket’ at TMC

The T/T Pair by Phillips aims to enhance tractor-trailer connectivity, security, and maintenance practices.

Rob-Phillips-Smiling-TMC-1400
NFI, JETSI open electric charging depot housing 50 BEV trucks

In addition to charging capabilities, the facility also houses a maintenance garage for NFI’s battery-electric assets.

NFI-JETSI-electir-semi-charging-depot-ribbon-cutting
FE’s February Fab 5 truck trends

Maintenance vs. buying new: We weigh the costly pros and cons of keeping your fleet running.

Fleet-Equipment-February-Top-5-truck-warranties-electric-maintenance-engines-volvo-vnl