The trucking industry has traditionally been known for diesel-powered engines and lots of horsepower, but big rigs have also gained a bad reputation for pollution. As the changing climate has gained more and more attention over the years, trucking technology manufacturers are now looking to shift away from fossil fuel energy and toward electric solutions, but this shift is not without its challenges.
While many manufacturing companies working in the electric motor sector may visit websites like arcsystemsinc.com to obtain sensored brushless motors or DC brushless motors, trucking research and development teams often have to create their own solutions. The power required to push 18-wheelers is immense, and efficiency is the key to making electric vehicle technology work with big rigs.
In addition to providing enough power to push heavy trucks and their multi-ton freight, electric motors in commercial trucks must also be able to generate power for long periods of time. The average trucker spends around 11 hours on the road each day, and this means that an electric truck motor will need to be able to produce reliable power to keep up.
Charging Station Availability Is A Challenge
Charging is also a challenge in the shift toward electric for trucking companies. While charging stations are becoming more common across the country, the infrastructure simply doesn’t exist yet to provide enough energy for large fleets traversing the nation’s highways and back roads. A combination of public and private funding has been enacted to remedy this, but developing the technology and marrying it with existing power grid components is going to take time.
Overcoming Objections In Industry Adoption
Industry objections from trucking company owners and drivers have also put up barriers to the adoption of electric trucks. Many veterans of the trucking industry are wary of making such a large leap, and trucking company owners are hesitant to spend the capital required to either purchase new fleet vehicles or retrofit existing trucks with electric motor technology or components.
Battery life is also a concern among trucking company owners as current storage capabilities require large, heavy batteries that are also relatively expensive. Additionally, the safety of lithium-based batteries is a concern for some drivers and fleet managers as is the disposal of defunct batteries which may contaminate landfills and thus will require special handling when discarded.
Testing Shows Promise
Although these objections have some merit, companies like Volvo Trucks are embracing electric truck technology. The company has begun testing its Volvo FH Electric in European markets, and the results have shown that zero-emission trucks can reliably transport freight while using battery power efficiently.
Other companies have also been testing and investigating the efficacy of electric technology in trucking, including mining company Kaunis Iron. During a joint test with Vattenfall, ABB and Volvo Trucks, Kaunis Iron conducted testing in the Arctic Circle to see whether commercial electric vehicle technology could stand up to the tough conditions and cold climate. Although battery range was a concern during testing, the results of the cold-climate tests demonstrated that electric trucks could stand up to difficult environmental conditions.
The Future Of Commercial Electric Vehicle Technology
Although around only 1% of all commercial vehicles on America’s roadways are fully electric, that number is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years. With backing from major manufacturing companies and automotive giants combined with federal and state funding initiatives, it appears that electric truck technology will be ready to hit the road and put the pedal to the metal within the next decade.