Fleet Operating Cost - Electric Trucks
Three factors companies consider when choosing either diesel or electric trucks for their fleet are range limitations, power availability, and brand benefits.
- When considering investing in EV trucks or moving from diesel to EV trucks, companies must consider the average range their trucks must travel. This is because EV trucks can only go so far on one charge, and then must return to a charging station, which are more limited than gas stations.
- One company that is in the process of moving towards an EV truck fleet, NFI in California, was able to do so because "the electric truck doesn't have the range to get to Chino and back [from LA]. It's running locally around the ports."
- Lack of charging infrastructure is a main deterant for companies to transition to EV trucks. Even among companies committed to EV fleet vehicles, one survey found that "a lack of charging infrastructure was a "significant" or "very significant" barrier for 71 percent of EV100 companies."
- UPS, who is the "the first commercial customer in the United States to use Daimler Trucks' latest medium-duty vehicles, the eCanter," also reported that "inadequate onsite charging infrastructure" was a barrier to adoption.
- The large draw of power required for charging EV trucks is also a barrier to adoption that companies must consider when purchasing EV trucks. In some areas, this amount of power may not be available. The power availability can limit the total number of EV trucks that can be supported at one facility.
- The availability of power is a larger concern for companies using higher-draw trucks, like Class 8. Additional considerations include what time of day the trucks will need to charge (as electricity costs vary by time of day) and how many trucks will need to be charging at the same time (since this can also drive costs up or over-draw the power supply).
- UPS encountered this problem when transitioning to EV trucks: "In 2013, UPS Camden’s 10 EVs maxed out the facility’s charging capacity. UPS responded to reaching its first 'network pinch point' the conventional way: buying an upgrade from a local network provider. However, that approach 'was expensive, inflexible and also required us to fund assets that were never going to belong to us,' said Peter Harris, director of international sustainability at UPS. So, when UPS Camden needed to update its charging infrastructure to accommodate 65 EVs, the company formed a partnership with UK Power Networks Services and Cross River Partnership that would assist in navigating a 'combination of operations, economics and policy' to develop a 'smarter approach with lower costs, greater flexibility and greater future-proofing.'"
- Companies must consider the additional benefits that EV trucks could bring to their brand in the form of public support and improve employee experience.
- For example, EV delivery trucks may improve brand reputation in cities because they are environmentally friendly and quieter than regular diesel trucks, which can foster a positive consumer opinion of the brand.
- Additionally, EV trucks can have benefits for employees: "Several commercial fleets operating plug-in electric vehicles have reported high levels of employee satisfaction, improved performance, and better retention. For example, in delivery applications, drivers of EV trucks appreciate the smooth and quiet ride, the elimination of diesel or gasoline exhaust fumes, and the idea that they are operating a cutting-edge technology. And retention has an impact on the bottom line: some commercial truck fleets estimate the total cost of hiring and training a new employee to be as much as $50,000."
Decision factors were considered as "top" or "important" based on the mention by multiple experts and/or the availability of real company examples illustrating the factor.