Electric trucking was big news as 2017 ended. Chanje, a California-based commercial EV and energy solutions company, committed to introducing a commercial all-electric MD vehicle in Q4 ’17, available at mass scale in the U.S. These vans, designed from the ground up as a purpose-built, long-life EV truck, already had volume orders at the close of 2017. Motiv Power Systems announced that Sacramento’s first all-electric automated left-side loader garbage truck, the Electric Refuse Vehicle (ERV) built on a Crane Carrier chassis, would be operable in 2018 and would be one of only two all-electric refuse trucks in operation within North America. Cummins, Inc. launched the Urban Hauler EV, a fully electric Class 7 daycab tractor demonstration prototype as a model for electric powertrains for 2019 city transit buses.
But has there been sustained enthusiasm for electric trucking now that we’re fully into 2018? In this edition of the “Gas2 Week in Review,” we’ll look at the recent stories about electric trucking, with the goal to figure how quickly– and if– short- and long-haul transport will be moving toward an all-electric future.
We’ve all heard that there will be a significant shift towards electric trucking in the next few years. But is the allure of electric trucking actually translating onto US roads? If 2017 California data about electric vehicles as a whole and pickup trucks in particular has instructive value, it is that demand for vehicles with more space and utility helped pickups, SUVs, crossovers, and minivans capture more than half of the market. “Electric vehicles are popular out here, especially in the cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles,” said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at Edmunds.com. “But the rest of California is rural, and, outside the cities, pickups are everywhere.”