Clean Machines - One of the main advantages we see is no smoke! While diesel trucks are powerful and
certainly have their place in long haul applications, they produce lots of particulates. The particulates cause cancer and other serious health problems...see our pages on air pollution.
Cheap to operate - A recent MIT-Staples study shows that electric delivery trucks cost from 9 to 12% less to operate than the same diesel rigs. EV Maintenance is always less than ICE maintenance. Staples estimates an EV truck annual maint. Cost of $250 vs $2,700 for a similar diesel rig. EV trucks for instance use re-generative braking which saves a bunch on brake jobs.
Driver Satisfaction - Many electric delivery truck drivers report they love their rigs. Some go as far as to say they would not go back to gas if given the choice. The EV grin at work!
Onsite power generation - Wow, who knew that hybrid EVs could provide increased emergency response and also power the grid?
Less reliance on overseas oil. Fuel from areas with geopolitical problems fuel is expensive and fraught with security and safety problems. Reliance on cheaper electric power makes sense.
Electric Truck Disadvantages
High initial Cost - The main problem with electric delivery trucks is high battery cost. EV trucks need large battery packs to get the work done. The packs are heavy and expensive up front.
Lowered Range - Electric delivery trucks have a shorter range than gas or diesel rigs. Oddly this can be an advantage to many EV truck owners. Since delivery routes are often well known, owners can plan for how much range is required and but accordingly.
Electric delivery trucks have been used for light to heavy duty delivery applications since the early 1900s. Today there are about a half dozen main electric delivery trucks in production. There are a few smaller custom trucks in use as well.
The reasons and advantages of EV truck fleets by business these days are much the same as they were a century ago, with a few added. Modern EV truck producers include:
The companies listed below have purchased BEV and HEV fleets. The companies state the advantages of EV over diesel ownership as reasons for making the switch from diesel to electric. Frito Lay - The snack company is a leader in U.S. EV truck ownership, and operates the world's 7th largest privately owned commercial truck fleet. Frito Lay has a fleet of some 280 EV delivery trucks that save the company around 750,000 gallons of diesel every year.
Frito-Lay North America is adding 100 new medium-duty electric trucks to its delivery fleet, bringing its total fleet of electric trucks to 275 vehicles. This is the largest EV fleet in the USA, and has logged over 1,000,000 miles.
PG&E - This utility has a unique approach to extended range electric trucks. The company has recently hooked up with VIA Motors for custom conversion of standard pickup trucks to meet company specs.
The custom rigs will feature PHEV capability plus the ability to export some 15 kWh export power from onboard generators for on site applications or back to the grid. The company thinks that using the EV generators planned outages could be a thing of the past.
In addition, Fuel savings add up to $2,700 per rig for a total of some $9,000,000 per year!
FedEx - FedEx burns some 1.5 billion gallons (357 million barrels) of fuel per year in its fleet of 700 planes and tens of thousands of trucks. CEO Fred Smith notes a desire to reduce dependence on overseas oil as a prime motivation in taking FedEx electric.
Staples - The office supply giant owns and operates some 2,000 delivery trucks and vans. In November of 2011, the company added 41 Smith electric trucks to the fleet.
Staples cites fuel efficiency, and carbon footprint reduction as their prime EV goals.
Staples provides some excellent operational data as part of their EV experience. Heres a summary of published notes:
In Los Angles, Staples has 180 routes of from 35-70 miles, and notes that their EV trucks are perfect for that market. In comparison, the company finds that their diesel trucks, though programmed to re-generate their particulate filters are mostly not able to do so because the rigs are not left running long enough to complete the cycle. Wow.
Costs - Staples calculations show a per truck annual fuel vs electricity cost savings of $6,600 per truck. They extrapolate to $66,000 per truck savings over 10 years, not including respectable maintenance savings. Calculations are based on fuel at $3.50 per gallon and electricity at $0.10 to $0.12 per kWh.
Maintenance for the electric delivery trucks is $250 per year vs $2,700 for the diesel fleet.
This gives an annual maint. Savings of $2,450. Over 10 years that adds up to $24,500. Added to the fuel savings over the same period, $90,500 of total cost savings in today's dollars.
UPS - AKA "Brown" the company trends green and currently operates some 380 hybrid electric trucks. Reasons given for the HEV fleet are basically the same as those for Staples. The company saves around 194,000 gallons of fuel annually, that translates to $679,000 per year at $3.50 per gallon.
The fuel savings translate into lowered carbon output of the fleet by some 1,960 metric tons per year.
The UPS fleet includes over 2,000 CNG trucks. Together with the HEV fleet, UPS green trucks have logged over 185 million miles since 1998. The company expects to take delivery of 100 EVI medium duty vans as part of the 500 Zero Emission Medium Duty truck deployment.
The big delivery service is moving straight ahead with EV fleet plans. Operates 20 Smith Newton EV trucks in the UK that they estimate reduce their emissions there by 40 percent. TNT plans to make 60% of its 3,500 strong fleet battery electric by 2020 .
275 Frito Lay electric trucks have logged over 1,000,000 miles in the USA
UPS Electric Three Wheel Delivery Rig
is being trialed in Dortmund Germany.
The micro e-van boasts nearly 78 cubic feet of storage space and a load capacity of 300 kg (661.4 lbs) pounds!. Top speed is 25 km/h (15.5 mph) with a range of about 35 km (21.75 miles).
A recent MIT-Staples study found that electric trucks cost from 9-12 percent less to operate than diesel rigs.
The study was based on trucks running 253 days per year at 70 miles per day and with diesel at $4 per gallon.
The Kangoo electric van
A successful utility van which promises to lower the total cost of ownership.
Renault Kangoo Electric Vans
In Europe the Kangoo Electric Van is making sales. The van works out well
for those needing stops along a regular route.
Motiv Power converts 20 Chicago diesel trash rigs
to Electric Vehicles
TNT - Smith electric trucks in the UK
New York Subsidy Program
The state of New York including NYC seeks to meet clean air standards. One of the methods is to subsidize electric truck. The $19 million New York Truck Voucher Incentive The program covers rigs from oversized pickup trucks to delivery vans and trucks to buses and garbage trucks. CNG and hybrid rigs are included.
Approved EV manufacturers include: Smith, Boulder, AMP and EVI.
EV Truck Study
Georgia Tech researchers find that EV trucks are more efficient most of the time except certain inter-urban situations. On average, EV trucks in the USA are 30 percent more efficient than their diesel cousins. They use 30 percent less energy that is. In addition the EV fleet emits some 40 percent less greenhouse gas than diesel rigs. This from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at GA Tech.
Along routes with many stops and starts the EV rigs rule, using 50% less fuel than gas burners. This in turn saves the operator 20% in fuel cost. Along routes in inter-urban areas with fewer stops the diesel rigs fare better.
Motiv Power Trash Hauling Conversions
Like most U.S. Cities, Chicago employs a fleet of diesel powered trash trucks that get like 3 mpg!
The city just signed a $13.4 million contract with Motiv to replace 20 of its 600 strong fleet with electric conversions. Each conversion weighs 52,000 pounds, is powered by 10 battery packs delivering a 60 mile range.
The new rigs are projected to cut operating costs by 50% over 8 years.