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Question

What do you wish you could ask the trucking industry about electrification, but are unsure who to ask or how to properly phrase the question?

David Schaller's picture
Industry Engagement Director North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE)

Electric/hybrid MD & HD commercial trucks are just entering the marketplace. With over 3 decades of experience introducing new technologies to the trucking industry, it is a pleasure to be...

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  • Apr 14, 2021
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NACFE is a non-profit organization serving the trucking industry for over a decade. For the past three years, ANCFE working in conjunction with RMI has been focusing heavily on electrification of commercial medium and heavy-duty trucks. We know trucks. And now we know a considerable amount about electrification: Electric Trucks - North American Council for Freight Efficiency (nacfe.org)

You could try to find a truck fleet who would answer your question. But there and many different truck fleets with different types of operations and vehicles so their answers can vary widely. You can ask a long term truck manufacturer or one of the brand new start-ups. Their answers might be very different as well.

Or you could ask NACFE because we are blessed to have many teammates with decades of experience introducing new technologies into the trucking industry. We are willing to have dialogs about this very complex and challenging transition.

As the "Industry Engagement Director", I'm here to engage with you. Drop me a question. Or three. Here. Or at David.Schaller@NACFE.org

PS: we expect that there will be a LOT of confusion in the conversations that need to happen. The trucking and utility industries both talk about transmissions, loads, drivers and buses. And they mean completely different things to both sides!

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I see lot of trucks going thru weigh stations in most states. Is it possible either at the same location or near rest stops to have fast heavy duty charging stations for electric trucking industry?

How much energy (kWh) would each truck need to completely run the truck for 10-12 hours of driving time?

Thanks for asking the question! Much appreciated.

Rao

David Schaller's picture
David Schaller on Apr 15, 2021

The answer to many questions in the trucking industry is "it depends" because there is an incredible amount of variation in trucking operations, both from fleet-to-fleet and even within a fleet. The type of trailer (aerodynamics factor), the cargo (weight of the payload) and terrain (mountains versus flatlands) and more all make it difficult to provide singular answers and ranges of answers.

One item that needs to be stated up front to your question is that it is against federal law to have refueling stations on interstates. Notice that you don't see fuel pumps at rest areas. Toll roads are a different case and can have refueling stations, so it is possible to have charging stations there in the future.

Additionally, many trucks no longer go through weigh stations because they are equipped with transponders in the cab so the weigh stations receive the information they want without the truck passing though their scales. (Watch for a device mounted well above the road just before the weigh station to see the equipment talking to the truck's transponder). Time is money and slowing down and accelerating after the weight is taken reduces fuel economy, so fleets prefer to stay in motion.

Currently a rough estimate for an "average" heavy-duty truck energy use is about 2 kWhr per mile traveled. Some of these trucks put on around 600 miles per day. So a total daily consumption might be roughly 1,200 kWhrs. But as stated previously that number will vary widely depending on loads, terrain, application, start/stop cycles, wind, and much more. NACFE will know more about daily loads after our Run On Less - Electric demonstration this fall. Check out this 13 EV truck event at RunOnLess.com or follow NACFE on the social media platform of your choosing.

Rao Konidena's picture
Rao Konidena on Apr 15, 2021

Makes so much sense, thanks for this education.

I will remember the 600 miles per day and 1200 kWhrs as an estimate.

let's keep the dialogue ongoing!

Rao

Charles Botsford, PE's picture
Charles Botsford, PE on Apr 21, 2021

Hi Rao,

David is correct about fueling at rest stops. Truck charging along transportation corridors may happen at venues analogous to those of EVgo and Electrify America, who do light-duty EV charging. For short haul operation, trucks will likely do overnight depot charging if they travel only 100-200 miles during the day. 

David Schaller's picture
David Schaller on Apr 24, 2021

Charles, thank you for the supporting information. It is not out of the question that truck fleets may join together in "card lock" recharging stations in a similar fashion to the way some alternative fueling locations for trucks function today.

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