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More than a dozen different electric trucks from companies such as Frito-Lay, Anheuser Busch, Penske and DHL will be measured over the next several weeks along their usual delivery routes to tally the amount of carbon they emit. This is a part of Run on Less, a program aimed at measuring efficiency in trucking that is a collaboration between the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) and RMI.
For the first time, all trucks participating in the event are powered by electric motors—revealing the momentum within the trucking industry for adopting greener delivery vehicles. This is critical now more than ever, as North American delivery is growing amid an e-commerce boom driven by the pandemic. Trucking emissions account for 24% of emissions in the United States, and on average, trucks emit more carbon than gasoline-powered passenger cars.
Interviews with truckers, fleet operators and delivery companies prior to the Run’s launch also found the following:
- Early adopters of electric vehicles (EVs) are validating an acceptable total cost of ownership in urban medium-duty vans and trucks, terminal tractors and short regional haul applications.
- EV adoption is occurring throughout North America, but for longer haul heavy-duty semi-trucks use has been somewhat limited to California.
- There are benefits to EVs (quiet operation and reliability) as well as challenges (infrastructure and range).
- EV truck ecosystem inertia is in its early stages with many solutions emerging that will support adoption in the next several years.
- The industry needs to develop standards in the areas of charging, repair, maintenance and training.
- There is a huge demand for real-world information on EVs in commercial applications and on charging infrastructure.
- The mix of startups and traditional truck OEMs and component manufacturers is expediting the development of creative and practical solutions.
- More thought is needed on the best way to gather and manage the necessary data for fleets and manufacturers to measure and monitor their EVs.
- Early adopters of EVs are having an influence on improving trucks and infrastructure.
- EVs present operational challenges, for example longer charging times than fueling, which these fleets are working to mitigate.