20, January, 2019
Electric trucks show rapid development
Electric-vehicle technology for the medium- and heavy-duty sector is developing rapidly, but the price and range of these vehicles must improve for widespread deployment to take hold, industry experts said.
Several researchers and industry executives discussed the emergence of electric commercial vehicles at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board.
While truck manufacturers and their suppliers are moving toward electrification at a swift pace, further improvements are needed to make the business case work in most trucking applications, said Joshua Goldman, vice president of business development at TransPower, an electric drive systems supplier.
Currently, trucks equipped with an electric powertrain can cost about $300,000 while delivering a 150-mile range, parameters that work for subsidized tests at ports, for example, but are not economically viable for most fleets.
TransPower aims to slice that price to $150,000 and extend the range to 300 miles within the 2021-25 time frame. That would provide a competitive total cost of ownership calculation without the aid of subsidies, Goldman said.
While electric motors are not new to commercial vehicles, particularly in mining and construction applications, technological advances over the past two decades have made electric power increasingly feasible for on-road use. Whitson cited as examples the emergence of lithium-ion batteries and improved energy storage systems and charging infrastructure.
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