With all the talk about electric cars in the media, many people might be surprised to learn that advances have been made in developing electric trucks as well, which is actually, according to a report in MIT News, almost a completely different product. The reason, they say, is because the horsepower needed to move a truck that hauls cargo is exponentially greater than that needed for a car, especially when encountering hilly terrain. Now, researchers from MIT, after studying the economics of using trucks by businesses to deliver goods, have found that companies can actually save money in the long run, despite the fact that such trucks typically cost nearly three times as much as conventional diesel vehicles. A report on their study is described in the same MIT News article. top 5 logistics companies
The problem in making a viable electric truck for hauling heavy loads has more to do with batteries, the researchers say, than in creating a motor strong enough to drive such a heavy vehicle. Bigger electric motors require a lot of electricity which means really big and really efficient batteries. Such batteries exist, but they cost a lot. So much that they drive the average price of a delivery truck up from $50,000 to over $150,000. Still, the research team says, that’s not so much that it makes them too expensive to use. In fact, they say, they found the opposite.
For trucks that are used to deliver goods in a local setting, they found that because of the price differential between diesel fuel and electricity to recharge the batteries, the average company could expect to recoup their investment costs over time. Overall they say, electric trucks cost nine to twelve percent less to operate than conventional vehicles. The exact time frame would of course, depend on the size and weight of the vehicle and the distance it travels each day.
To come to these conclusions, the team worked with office retail store Staples, which of course has a very large fleet of delivery vehicles and associated data to work with showing how much diesel fuel their trucks use on an average day. The company also has 53 electric trucks that the team was able to use for comparison purposes and to prove their math correct.
The team also took the study one step further by showing that companies could reduce their hauling costs even more by using the trucks as energy providers when not on the road. In one such scenario, they found truck owners could receive as much as $900 to $1400 a year from energy providers.