11.3.2019 Technology

Electric trucks: disrupting a traditional industry

Electric trucks: disrupting a traditional industry

In our ever-warming world, electric vehicles (EVs) are increasingly gaining prominence, and disrupting decade old markets. While the driving force behind innovation in the electronic vehicle market has been the much needed environmental protection, there are significant logistical incentives as well. Industrial leaders are reacting to these advances in surprising ways.

Market Leaders

Under its Go Green program global leader Deutsche Post DHL has acquired the startup StreetScooter in a move to completely replace its diesel powered trucks for “last mile” deliveries. StreetScooter’s trucks cut maintenance costs by 50% and repair costs by 80%, and the DHL group aims not only to utilize but also sell these vehicles to other industrial groups and parties.

These actions have disheveled Volkswagen whose Caddy models DHL is now phasing out. BMW has also started using Terberg’s emission-free trucks in its manufacturing processes citing 50% less energy consumption.

Electric Vehicles in the Long-Haul

In the short range electric trucks are performing well due to the high cost savings and environmental benefits; however, for longer range 300-600 mile transfers, the existing technologies simply do not suffice. Nevertheless, EV companies Nikola and Tesla seek to change that in the coming 5 years as they have both announced plans to release semi-electric trucks.

Effects on the Industry

In the long term, the logistics industry stands to gain from the savings introduced by various EVs’ higher efficiency. Whereas in the medium term the effects are expected to be limited to lighter load trucks as truck manufacturers list various obstacles that electric heavy duty trucks would face before becoming practical. That includes the short range, lack of charging stations and the long charging times as opposed to the traditional shorter refueling times. Despite these technical challenges, environmental legislation is likely to get more strict as the effects of global warming and deteriorating air quality become more and more prominent and governments take action. In turn, this will eventually drive the logistics market into reinventing the process to meet the environmental targets while also staying feasible, and then EVs will become vital.