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article imageElectric trucks take to the roads with little fanfare

By Karen Graham     Dec 18, 2017 in Technology
All over the world, from Paris to Toronto, and New York to Tokyo, that delivery truck stopping at the curb to make a delivery may soon go totally unnoticed because it will be so quiet. Gone will be the rumbling motor and fumes.
A quiet yet serious movement is taking place in the truck industry as more and more companies are turning to electric trucks, thanks to improved batteries and falling prices, and multiple vehicle companies are now gearing up to make them.
According to the EPA's U.S. Transportation Sector Greenhouse Gas Emissions report issued in July 2017, in 2010, transportation, including trucking, was responsible for 14 percent of all emissions globally. In the United States, over 6.0 percent of greenhouse gas emissions emitted in 2015 came from medium- and heavy-duty trucking.
Because trucks need a lot more pulling power, electrification has been slow to come to the trucking industry. But new innovations in battery technologies have helped in bringing down both the size and price of truck batteries. And the batteries have the pulling power needed for heavy loads.
Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk says his electric Semi Truck can save 20 percent compared with tr...
Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk says his electric Semi Truck can save 20 percent compared with traditional diesel rigs, after factoring in fuel and insurance costs
Veronique DUPONT, AFP
Lisa Jerram, a principal research analyst for Navigant Research, says the truck industry has been given a boost from electric car sales recently, as well as city governments who are switching to electric buses to cut down on smog, reports Inside Climate News.
A recent report by Jerram shows the number of hybrid-electric and electric trucks is set to grow almost 25 percent annually, from 1.0 percent of the market in 2017 to 7.0 percent in 2027, a jump from about 40,000 electric trucks worldwide this year to 371,000.
Number of companies growing
David Alexander is the research director for UK-based Truck Technology Ltd. cited the announcements of pending leases by United Parcel Service and advance orders for the newly introduced model from Tesla over the past few weeks, adding that a number of truck manufacturers are turning to producing 1ll-electric trucks, or are planning to.
The Thor Trucks ET-One
The Thor Trucks ET-One
Thor Trucks
Besides Tesla, and more recently, Los Angeles-based Thor, China's BYD has electric trucks on the road, while Daimler Mitsubishi's FUSO is expected to be on the road very soon. Additionally, Volvo, Scania, MAN (VW) and Navistar are testing already testing prototype electric trucks, aiming to bring them to market by 2020.
Then there are a number of smaller companies, including Arrival (UK), Chanje (U.S., China), E_FORCE (Switzerland), Tevva Motors (UK), and Workhorse (U.S.) who have introduced electric trucks into local markets.
And yet, with all the good news on electric trucks, there is still a lot to be done before we will see electric-powered long-haul big rigs like the ones going cross-country. "The reality is that the batteries weigh a lot more to get that range that the truck driver needs," says Bryan Allen, a Daimler marketing manager.
Allen says it is still a weight game. You want the weight to be in goods hauled, and not the batteries. And as electric trucks make up more and more of our fleets, other things will change, besides the size and weight of the batteries needed. Moving away from diesel means that "everything changes," Allen says, "from how the trucks are serviced to fuel stations."
More about electric trucks, low emissions, battery technology, fleet orders, Clean energy
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