Electric trucks can go the (short) distance


But the researchers weren’t sure the grid could handle many electric trucks charging in one place at the same time. unlike electric carsElectric truck fleets with relatively low power requirements and which will be distributed to neighborhoods can strain electrical distribution systems.

Electricity distribution relies on substations serving small areas, usually around a few square miles (although this varies widely depending on population density). If an area suddenly exceeds the capacity of a substation, it can cause an outage. Accommodating more electric trucks without triggering this problem may require major upgrades that can be costly and take months or even years to implement.

Borlaug and colleagues modeled substation requirements using data from real-world diesel distribution fleets. To estimate the charging needs of an electric fleet, the team took into account how far trucks travel and how much time they spend at their home base.

“About 80% to 90% of the substations we worked with could accommodate fleets of up to 100 trucks without requiring significant upgrades,” Borlaug says. And he adds that if fleets manage their charge by choosing lower speeds to avoid straining the grid, fewer substations will need upgrades.

However, the trucking industry has historically been slow to adopt new technology, he says. Ben Sharpeis an analyst at the International Council for Clean Transport, a nonprofit research group that studies the transportation industry. Some states are considering incentives or even requirements to electrify fleets.

California passed regulations In June 2020, it requires most heavy-duty trucks sold by 2035 to be zero-emissions. The state also has an extensive coupon system to subsidize the cost of purchasing new electric vehicles. “You can’t overstate its importance” California’s trucking regulations, says Sharp. Largely as a result of these programs, he adds, about half of all electric trucks currently on the roads in the US and Canada are in California.

Other US states follow California’s lead: 15 states signed in July 2020 a new rule This requires all new medium and heavy-duty vehicles to be zero-emissions by 2050, with other targets by deadline.

While short-range electric trucks may seem relatively close to commercial reality, some researchers They warned that expanding the range of electric trucks may not be technologically or economically feasible in the short term.

“You’re definitely going to do the short haul, no doubt about it, because the economy is in favor, everything is in favor,” he says. Venkat Viswanathan, mechanical engineer at Carnegie Mellon University. As batteries get cheaper and lighter, trucks that can travel around 500 miles between charges seem more realistic, Viswanathan says.


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