It is clear that urban mobility is changing and, sooner or later, transport will be dragged with it. This is seen directly with the future related to the transport of goods in the hands of the new electric trucks. A type of vehicle that has begun to take its first steps towards electrification with extremely important features for the sector.
Sustainability via electric trucks
And it is that more and more transport companies such as electric trucks are realizing that they need to start the electrification of their fleets at this time to reach the near future in good condition. Whether it is to protect the environment, or to satisfy consumer demand for sustainable transport, there are several brands that have succumbed to them, such as Volvo.
In this sense, the reality is that the development of electric trucks It can be a real turning point in road transport, a change of model towards a much more sustainable future. So much so that it is estimated that in ten years the use of electric trucks will be fully integrated into our high-volume transport model.
However, and as is already happening with the rest of the variants in terms of electric vehicles, such as cars or motorcycles, there are two problems that brands must solve: battery life and the final price of the models. Two aspects that do because the electrification is not yet fully in tune. Even so, they are found with qualities that attract powerfully attention.
How is this generation of electric trucks
Now, what differences do we find with these electric trucks compared to the more conventional ones? First of all, it is a truck that has one or more electric motors as a means of propulsion. This means that, like cars with this mechanism, they do not produce air or noise pollution.
For manufacturers, building vehicles of this caliber pose real challenges. We are talking about means designed to carry out intensive use and travel hundreds of kilometers a day with a lot of load behind them. Furthermore, the European models and their square-shaped cabs are the complete opposite of aerodynamics, further impairing their efficiency. Therefore, we are before energy thirsty vehicles.
With these vehicles it is intended achieve greater autonomy that has already been achieved for passenger cars. The first electric truck came in 2016, here from the quintessential electric vehicle maker Tesla. They did it with the so-called Nikola One, a prototype that has changed considerably since its inception.
These types of vehicles, such as electric trucks, are also satisfied with a renewed battery design. The goal of each of the electric trucks, regardless of their size and dimensions, is to tackle the problem of polluting emissions in urban centers. On the other hand, this is also a cargo loading option that reduces operating costs and the carbon footprint of companies.
What advantages do they bring
This type of electric truck has a very clear objective and all these details are advantages for the transport of the future and the environment. The two fundamental purposes are focused on improving air quality and minimizing pollution in cities.
- Reduce pollution emissions in cities. Being electric in its entirety they do not produce greenhouse gases. However, we should not think that because of this they do not pollute, that is a factor that will be determined by the energy that has previously been used to generate electricity. Still, electric vehicles have a smaller ecological footprint than fossil fuel powered trucks.
- Lower cost thanks to fuel savings.
- Good autonomy. Although it is still a very important issue to be discussed, and of which there are many brands that are placing special emphasis on it, depending on the model we select, these will range between 100 and 2,000 km on a single charge. However, there are prototypes that have managed to achieve 6,500 km at once. This is a great advantage to carry out transport routes efficiently.
- Circulation in centers urban. Pollution levels in our cities have driven diesel transport vehicles to a dead end. In many cities, circulation in the urban center of the city is prohibited and therefore, it has been necessary to use electric vehicles for this purpose.
Batteries and consumption
With regard to the batteries in these electric trucks, much more powerful and cheaper lithium-ion options are already being developed, so that once the charging infrastructures become more present throughout the sector, the decision to opt may be for this type of vehicle it is something much simpler than it was initially.
Currently, these types of trucks carry a charging connection that allows charging at industrial sites or using the charging cable included with the vehicle. This also refers to the fact that they usually consist of a output voltage 750 V. Although the consumption of diesel combustion trucks is around 30-40 liters per 100 kilometers, their tanks are usually capable of accumulating between 400 and 500 liters of fuel. That means that the manufacturers of electric trucks, at least, need about 1,000 kilometers of autonomy if we want to match them in performance.
Matching that range with a 100% electric powertrain has no magic solution. Technically it is possible and relatively simple, it would be enough to equip the truck with enough battery modules to obtain the desired kilometers of autonomy. For example, models such as the Nikola One to make regional trips, medium deliveries and to serve as support in works, has an autonomy of between 320 and 480 km.
Maximum power and performance
In the case of power, here a range is opened that, depending on the manufacturer and the type of truck as a modality, the numbers vary because not all of them need the same force. In the case of the Volvo FL Electric or the Mercedes Benz Truck 2025, these have a maximum output power for PTO of between 100 and 550kW (680CV).
This looks great with firms like Hyliion, who have made a battery module made up of lithium titanate oxide (LTO) battery cells, made by Toshiba. In your case, they will get increase its shelf life, the charging speed and the safety of conventional lithium batteries.
Based on this new battery and motor system, these modules, patented by the American company, will be implemented in the next generation of the company’s electric trucks for the transport of heavy loads (class 8). The result is that the improvement of performance, the speed of load and the useful life, being able to reach up to 10,000 charge cycles and discharge and security (today they are around 2,000 cycles.
Types of electric trucks
As with the rest of the vehicles that are continually emerging, one of the great problems or drawbacks for the public and the user is that, despite the fact that they still do not have the expected range, as well as that they have batteries of superior technology to utility vehicles, electric trucks are also seen with quite high prices.
In fact, most of the first electric trucks that are already on the road look considerably more expensive than diesel ones. Other examples are those that have to do with Tesla or Daimler, the brand that owns Mercedes, where they have vehicles that exceed € 60,000 in the case of the second, or € 130,000 for the first. The cheapest are the Cummins, which have a starting price of 40,000 euros. No price equivalency is expected until at least 2023 or 2024.
- Semi-trailer trucks. These have a load capacity of a 27 ton cargo container at speeds of up to 64 km / h and a range of between 48 and 97 km. It was created by the Port of Los Angeles and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which showcased a short electric range heavy truck that was capable of hauling a full 12 meter cargo container. The current one uses 1.2 kWh / km compared to its equivalent in combustion which would be 47 I / 100km.
- Recycling or garbage trucks. More and more cities are using these types of trucks, which spend most of their time starting, idling or stopped. In the event that they use internal combustion engines, their activities are the least efficient.
- Tractor heads. Since 2017, electric tractor heads have been built.
- Electric vans. The Big Bike Company Limited brand, in Gloucestershire (England), today offers all-electric vans that are capable of carrying a load of up to approximately 500 kg and have a range of up to 130 km. They have three wheels, which considerably reduces aerodynamic and rolling friction.
As for the types, and as it happens in the most conventional ones, we see that there are several categories and designs adapted to the needs of each one, of which the sector is taking steps forward more and better. Based on this new battery and motor system, these modules, patented by the American company, will be implemented in the next generation of the company’s electric trucks for the transport of heavy loads (class 8). The result is that the improvement in performance, loading speed and useful life, being able to reach up to 10,000 charge and discharge cycles and security (today they are around 2,000 cycles.