April 2018

Fleet Management News & Business Info | Commercial Carrier Journal

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 90 of 107

commercial carrier journal | april 2018 85 A handful of players are working to identify the role of electric trucks in the long-haul segment, but final-mile applications already have proven to be a fertile ground for zero- emissions transportation. Bryan Hansel, chief executive officer of Chanje – which last year intro- duced a Class 5 electric van – says his company is focused on the final-mile segment, where maximum payload isn't as critical and routes generally are less than a more manageable 70 miles. Still, there are weight limitations. Chanje's Class 5 electric van weighs over a ton more than the largest Ford Transit model while offering only about an additional 38 cubic feet of cargo space. While passenger cars have helped push and clear many of the regulatory hurdles for electric trucks, they don't face the same kind of curb weight chal- lenges as their Class 8 counterparts. "e [added] weight of batteries has to be considered, as some applications are more sensitive to weight than oth- ers," says Kary Schaefer, general man- ager of product marketing and strategy for Daimler Trucks North America. Manufacturers need additional bat- tery packs to extend a truck's range – which can fluctuate based on load, speed and temperature – but extending range by heaping on more battery packs hurts payload capacity. Schaefer says battery technology has improved, which has helped to drive down both weight and cost, but "the business case for [long-haul] trucks is not a slam-dunk." A few conditions Electric vehicles simplify a fuel-fired engine's inefficient process of climbing through gears to reach its most efficient cruising speed. Chris Nordh, director of advanced vehicle technology for Ryder System, says electric trucks make the most sense in applications where operating conditions won't allow gasoline and diesel units to reach optimized levels for extended periods. "Where the internal combustion engine doesn't like being is in stop-and-go traf- fic and in scenarios where you're going up steep hills and down steep grades constantly," he says. "[An electric motor prefers] the types of applications where it can take advantage of brake regeneration on a constant basis." In cities such as New York and San Francisco, electric vehicles already make more sense to operate than gasoline or diesel trucks, Nordh says. "at's specifi- cally because of the technology and what it [the truck] likes to see," he says. Otto Schmid, Fuso's director of product management, says his company soon will deliver its first crop of Class 4 eCanter electric trucks to customers in New York and California. ose customers will help the Daimler subsidiary compile data on truck usage, driver feedback and recharg- ing cycles. Bill Lyons, Fuso Trucks of America's vice president of sales, says he expects the data and general advancements in battery technology to snowball once fleet trials get underway, adding that in two more model years, eCanters "will be even better." Even transitioning up in GVWR, the business case for the powertrain's capabil- ity doesn't change, Nordh says. Marc Llistosella, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp., says a potential application for his company's Vision One heavy- duty truck would be regional intracity distribution, even though he says the truck could be at least four years from making its market debut. Similarly, Srikanth Padmanabhan, EDITOR'S NOTE: THE FOLLOWING STORY IS PART 1 OF A THREE-PART SERIES ON "MEDIUM-DUTY TRUCKS." MAY'S INSTALLMENT WILL ADDRESS REGIONALIZATION TRENDS. JUNE'S STORY WILL FOCUS ON THE LATEST MEDIUM-DUTY MODELS. This rendering from Thor shows an example of what a charging station could look like, taking cues from a truck stop's parking and fuel island. Electric trucks face variety of considerations before widespread adoption BY JASON CANNON

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of CCJ - April 2018