Has the transition to electric trucks begun in the road transport sector?
Is the road transport sector on the verge of a revolution? In any case, some stakeholders in this sector firmly believe that the arrival of electric trucks could lead to significant changes, comparable to the changes that occurred when internal combustion engines were introduced.
But how can we foresee the transition to this more eco-friendly mode of transport? Here is a brief overview of the situation concerning the electric truck and its role in the transport and logistics sector.
Electric truck autonomy: still stalling for many carriers
Today, electric vehicle technology is becoming increasingly viable for motorists. The distance cars powered by 100% electric motors can travel before being charged is constantly increasing and is now approaching 500 km.
However, knowing that truck drivers may have to travel twice as far in a single day, electric trucks certainly still don’t offer enough range to replace diesel vehicles. Indeed, the lack of battery energy storage capacity, the scarcity of charging stations and the time required to recharge vehicles make diesel trucks a much more flexible option for transporters.
This means that in the short term, 100% electric trucks will be mainly limited to specific applications that are well suited to the technology, such as short-distance home deliveries.
A transition that could involve hybrid trucks
While 100% electric vehicles aren’t yet a realistic alternative to diesel trucks, another type of truck could help transport companies reduce their fossil fuel consumption. The heavy-duty truck transportation sector alone consumes nearly 25% of all the oil used for travel in Quebec. A hybrid engine could significantly reduce diesel consumption, while offering a longer range than an all-electric engine.
This technology, which is also available in several production cars, is already proven and is beginning to make its appearance among truck manufacturers. Of course, they have to deal with different constraints such as towing capacity.
American engine manufacturer Cummins even expects to offer its hybrid engines to automakers this year. These combine the use of a battery and a diesel generator. The announced autonomy is nearly 500 km, of which 160 km can be covered in 100% electric mode. According to its representatives, this engine represents an interesting to way make a truck fleet electric, and to reduce diesel consumption by nearly half.
Unique realities of Quebec carriers
For obvious reasons, Quebec carriers will probably have to wait a little longer than their American counterparts before embarking on the transition to electric power for their vehicle fleets. Climate conditions make life difficult for batteries and the sheer size of the territory means that trucks must be able to travel longer distances than the trucks that will appear in the coming years.
In short, electricity is the future of the road transport sector, but diesel trucks won’t disappear from Quebec’s road network any time soon.
Until then, for all your current and future transportation needs, you can count on Econonord Transport’s unparalleled expertise and service.