With the strive to limit global warming to 1.5C and the goal of halving global emissions by 2030, we are seeing more and more electric cars on the road as well as large couriers changing their van fleets over to electric. Many people are still nervous about the current charging infrastructure and have range concerns, even anxiety about the transition to electric, so how will this all fare up for the transport sector?
190 nations made a commitment to limit global warming, the haulage industry represents 28% of CO2 emissions and 7% of this is for goods being transported by road within Europe (International Energy Agency).
Electric powered vehicles are not the only option to reduce emissions, there is of course gas, biodiesel, and hydrogen which seems to be the most talked about solution, however according to Renault Trucks White Paper October 2022; “The switch from grey hydrogen to green or blue hydrogen is very expensive and can only be undertaken over the long term, between 2030 and 2050 according to the European Hydrogen Association (FCHJU). By 2030, grey hydrogen will still be the most commonly used variant and blue and green hydrogen will be used more in the aviation sector and for industry that has no other solution for decarbonising its activities. For this reason, its wide scale use in the road haulage industry is not envisaged in the short term.” So, with this in mind it would seem that for the short term it is likely that we will be seeing more and more electric trucks on our roads.
There is already a number of vehicle manufacturers switching their manufacturing to electric rather than fossil fuel and a number of global brands have already placed orders to trial them, but the most common question is still – what is the range? As you would expect there is no straight forward answer! There are so many factors we must consider, what types of journeys will the truck be used for – long distances or urban? What weight will they be carrying? Will the truck be refrigerated? Will the truck be making multiple stops? (dustcarts for example).
The research Auva has carried out indicates that the maximum range would be around 500 miles. We are sure you would agree that 500 miles doesn’t seem a long range for a long-distance truck driver, however when we factor in the laws in the UK, for example, a driver can only drive for 56 hours in a week (9 hours for four days and 10 hours another two days), plus they must take breaks. If we factor in the average speed of a truck of say 55 MPH, it would seem that on a nine-hour day, a driver could cover 495 miles which is slightly under the 500 mile range, then the driver would be able to charge the vehicle whilst on a mandatory break. In an ideal world if the driver is guaranteed a charger when they stop this would work, however we must consider if there are no chargers available or working there could be issues, especially if they are carrying a perishable load!
No doubt the next seven years will be a very interesting time, unarguably there will be more vehicle choices available, longer ranges, and far more infrastructure available, but this will all come at a cost and will require precision route planning… but surely this is a small price to pay for our planet?