Constant Creep Toward Electric Vehicle Transportation

Every day we hear more and more talk about electric vehicles, especially in news reports and ads. Electricity powered cars and light trucks are already available and are becoming more popular. And it’s not just a California phenomenon. Electric car sales are gaining traction throughout North America. We’ve come a long way from e-bike and e-scooter days.

Greenhouse Gases

We’re calling this a creep because North America has not yet graduated to the walk or run stages of electric vehicle transportation as mainstream. But those phases are surely coming, driven mainly by the state of climate change across the planet caused by harmful emissions from burning fossil fuels and coal.

The need to move away from consuming gasoline and diesel fuels has never been greater than it is today. We are witness to devastation, destruction and death by ever increasing and strengthening storms as never before occur the world over along with raging out of control wildfires and crops decimated by drought.

Hurdles to Cross.

Electric vehicles – especially trucks – are limited by their lack of range and absence of charging infrastructure needed to extend mileage limits. The battery packs already exist for providing the juice to run trucks but for now these are large and heavy. Their excess weight equates to reduced payload in the box.

But electric heavy trucks are arriving on the market that promise range up to the trip distance needed for regional deliveries and return on a single charge. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are trimming weight from trucks and trailers to bring gross payloads back to maximums. Some are already cranking out electrified class 8 tractors for sale. Even electric yard trucks are being put into use.

Change is coming and hopefully within our lifetime that will enable us to see even electrified long haul trucks with zero emissions. We start with a creep and finish running a marathon. Unfortunately, that will have to wait for enroute charging infrastructure to catch up. For now, though we see a particular possible use for electric heavy trucks in the drayage industry which carries freight a short distance using ground transportation. Final mile deliveries will also be a likely use for electric trucks.

Fleets Begin Buying Electric Trucks

Fleets are getting on board the change to zero emissions, albeit gradually. Schneider announced it is adding 50 new eCascadia Freightliner tractors to put to use in California in 2022. Canadian fleet Bison Transport has acquired 2 electrified eCascadia tractors to run cross border from Delta BC to a customer in Washington State.

In New York City, Manhattan Beer Distributors recently took delivery of a zero emission Volvo VNR electric tractor from Volvo Trucks North America, the first of five it is adding to its fleet. Paccar offers 2 class 8 zero emission tractors, the Kenworth T680E and the Peterbilt 579EV.

All Electric Reefers on the Way

Even Thermo King has committed to having all electric refrigeration units in every stage of the cold chain by 2025. Its all electric products will start coming available by 2023. Think of it: zero emission reefers. Now that’s progress.

The list of manufacturers mentioned here is not meant as exhaustive, rather just a representation of what’s happening. You may already be aware of others. Many fleets with smaller electric vehicles are pushing zero emissions out the tailpipes.

Without a doubt the world’s carbon footprint will be shrinking in time. We’re on the verge of moving from a creep to a step as other manufacturers create electrified transportation solutions and more charging stations appear. We just hope it’s enough and in time to change the world. Zero emission long haul trucks need to come soon, then we will run.

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