Roughly half of all U.S. and Canadian Class 8 tractors engaged in regional-haul applications could switch to battery-electric technology today with minimal or no impact on operations, productivity, or efficiency, according to a new report.
The North American Council for Freight Efficiency’s new report, “Electric Trucks Have Arrived: The Case for Heavy Duty Regional Haul Tractors,” is based on findings from NACFE’s Run on Less Electric vehicle evaluation trials completed last year, reports Heavy Duty Trucking.
Run on Less Electric evaluated the performance of various light-, medium-, and heavy-duty electric trucks in real-world operations around the country to gain insights into how well the trucks performed compared to conventional diesel-powered units.
Based on that study, NACFE considers short and medium regional heavy-duty tractors electrifiable today, explained NACFE Executive Director Mike Roeth during an online press briefing on May 5. These trucks have a range of about 200 miles and improving total cost of ownership when monetizing all benefits, despite about 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of freight capacity penalty compared to diesels. Regional haul tractors perform in various duty cycles, including out-and-back, hub-and-spoke and diminishing return.
Battery-electric tractor models currently available could meet the needs of about 50% of this market segment, or an estimated 468,782 power units.
“Regional haul is really interesting when it comes to electric trucks,” Roeth added. “In 2019, NACFE concluded that the regional-haul operational model is really good for trucking. That’s because the trucks return to base every night — which is what drivers want. So, we’re seeing a lot of technology converge around regional haul today to make freight more predictable. And we’re seeing a lot of dedicated, regional-haul businesses grow rapidly with well-known national carriers like J.B. Hunt, Schneider and others moving into this market segment.”
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