Are electric vehicles viable options for truck drivers?
Before automation kicks off throughout the industry, electric commercial motor vehicles will likely be one of the biggest talking points in the industry as their implementation inches closer.
The use of electric trucks will require additional training for drivers, as it’ll fundamentally change their day-to-day workflow. Nonetheless, the rationale for the use of electric trucks has become increasingly compelling, as they’d save companies and drivers on gas, while also being environmentally friendly.
Nevertheless, their viability depends mostly on how far they can get a driver before having to recharge. In the case of Tesla’s Semi, which is seemingly the leading electric truck in the industry, it can go up to 300 or 500 miles on a single charge while carrying an 80,000-pound load.
According to Tesla, their Semi can also recharge up to 400 miles in 30 mins, which would be extremely beneficial to drivers. Nevertheless, other trucks such as the Freightliner eCascadia is still only able to travel 250 miles on a single charge.
While the average driver does travel 250 miles one way, they’d have to take the time to recharge before getting back on the road and traveling another 250 miles, where they’d have to spend 90 minutes charging only 80 percent of their battery.
The whopping recharge time for Tesla’s Semi may well become the industry standard, but until then, recharge time will likely become an issue throughout the trucking industry. While having to put gas in your truck can eat up small portions of your driving time, waiting upwards of 90 minutes for a full charge may not work in the driver’s favor.
So, are electric trucks a viable option considering the industry-wide variance in charging times? Well, yes and no.
For drivers that drive within a single state, the gas savings from an electric vehicle like the eCascadia could be a lot more efficient. Because they drive much shorter distances than OTR drivers, they may be able to drop off and pick up multiple loads before having to do a full recharge.
OTR drivers might have more issues, as charging can potentially eat into their on-duty times. While they can spend time charging during their 10-hour break, a plethora of infrastructure will be needed to avoid potential hours of service violations for drivers.
Charging stations will need to be readily available for drivers at most, if not every parking location. If recharging stations end up being scarce for truck drivers, it could create an even bigger headache for them as finding these spots can potentially set back their drop-off times.
Many of these issues may very well be addressed down the line, but they’ll need to be answered before electric trucks become standard in the market.
Ultimately, the environmental impact that electric trucks can have would be an enormous boost for the United States, and may even end up being the sole reason for its implementation being fast-tracked.
Nonetheless, the effect that the change would have on drivers should likely be prioritized in the decision-making process, as they’re ultimately the ones that would have to adjust their day-to-day duties the most.
So what do you think about electric trucks? Are you excited about potentially driving one or would you rather stick with regular trucks? Let us know in the comments or on social media!
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