The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) released its second guidance report on electric trucks, Guidance Report: Medium-Duty Electric Trucks: Cost of Ownership, an unbiased report detailing the multiple factors to consider in selecting medium-duty commercial battery electric vehicles (CBEVs), with attention to considering all of the cost/benefit factors in estimating return on investment.
“Commercial electric-powered trucks are real as evident with the FUSO eCanter trucks in operation today,” said Larry Smith, director of fleet operations for Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America Inc. “Our trucks are deployed with customers in highly urban areas where that environment makes it possible to predict daily ranges and coordinate the most efficient vehicle charging opportunity.”
More specifically, the report found that daily, return-to-base urban cycles below 100 miles are well suited for battery electric drivetrains and that the primary justification of CBEVs is to meet zero emissions objectives.
“Electric trucks present a new world of potential business opportunities and are no longer speculation,” said Mike Roeth, executive director, NACFE. “Fleets choosing electric trucks today will get on the learning curve ahead of those that wait.”
Keshav Sondhi, director, fleet engineering and sustainability, PepsiCo Inc, added: “Medium-duty vehicles with one-shift-per-day operations offer the most straightforward application for battery electric vehicles; as trucks sit idle for long enough periods of time, they can be charged at cost-effective rates and with fewer infrastructure demands.”
Because field history is minimal, total-cost-of-ownership modeling for battery electric vehicles involves a number of projections, estimates, and guesses. NACFE has identified 20 generally unknown factors concerning modern fleets. Those known unknowns fall into four broad categories: market issues, battery issues, regulatory issues and power issues. The unknowns are not stopping fleets from buying CBEVs and getting first-hand operational data.
The report concluded that medium-duty electric trucks represent just one more option available to fleets to wrest the best economics for their specific freight operations and that they will succeed or fail under the intense spotlight of the marketplace.
The electrification of freight trucks is just starting, but it has the potential to revolutionize the industry just as the dieselization of locomotive engines revolutionized freight transport in the 1940s and 1950s.
NACFE developed a Total Cost of Ownership Calculator to compare diesel and gasoline truck investments against comparable battery electric trucks. The use of this calculator will support expressing the many factors that exist when operating an electric truck versus a gasoline or diesel one in dollars and cents.
NACFE hopes that, due to fleet managers, manufacturers and others using its Guidance Reports in the months and years leading to launch, the first generation of production technologies will perform much better and offer higher return on investments.