Electric trucks are only one category of large commercial vehicles that are making the news as they slowly transition to electric power. Long-haul truckers typically cover 400 to 600 miles a day, and freeing big rig trucks and other large vehicles from their reliance on petroleum fuels is an enormous challenge. Because these oversized trucks need more energy than cars to move their mass and cargo, it’s harder for them to rely on batteries, which are less energy-dense than diesel fuel. Development of fully electric trucks have not seen the same trajectory as have fully electric consumer vehicles, yet, with prices of lithium batteries that power them coming down, there is increased hope in the marketplace for electric trucks and other large electric vehicles to become more common soon.
It is essential to electrify vehicles that rely most significantly on diesel engines if we hope to lower greenhouse gas emissions and gain important environmental rewards. So this week on the “Gas2 Week in Review” we’ve looked to EVs beyond the mass commuter market. Electric trucks are the talk of the EV town, with Loblaw taking the lead in Canada by adding a Class 8 electric truck to its fleet. Daimler’s new Jouley electric school buses will be a welcomed relief to families who cringe as their children inhale clouds of diesel fumes at bus stops. Workhouse’s Nex-Gen delivery truck has an optional — and fascinating — drone that will accelerate delivery schedules. For those who steer clear of big public transportation, Waymo seems ready to bring commercial EVs to the self-driving market, and then there’s the little Vespa and its newest iteration, the electric Elettrica (no, it’s not one of the new electric trucks on the market, but it was such a good story we couldn’t resist including it).
Here are those stories and more in this week’s edition of the “Gas2 Week in Review.”
Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, attended the unveiling of a 53-foot, fully electric Class 8 truck from Loblaw Companies Limited. These electric trucks are capable of making commercial grocery deliveries with zero carbon emissions. Canada’s largest retailer specializing in food and pharmaceuticals, Loblaw announced its commitment to move its corporately-owned trucking fleet to electric vehicles. The electric trucks will be produced by BYD, the world’s largest manufacturer of electric vehicles and a global leader in battery electric buses and trucks.
Loblaw acknowledges it is one of Canada’s largest energy users in its role as the country’s food and pharmacy leader and largest retailer, which gives it a critical role to play in helping Canada reach its carbon reduction targets. Loblaw will work with partner BYD for sustainable solutions to reduce its carbon footprint 30% by 2030, with a definitive commitment to limit transportation emissions to 0.087 gCO2 e/t-km. By 2030, Loblaw intends to reduce emissions associated with electricity consumption by 35 per cent, transportation by 25 per cent, and refrigerants by 50 per cent. It will also improve waste diversion to 80 per cent in stores and 95 per cent in distribution centers.