02/15/2022

Exciting Prospects of EV Trucks for Commercial Fleets

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5 Min. Read

The availability of electric vehicles (EVs) and trucks has skyrocketed in the past two years and shows no sign of stopping.

Automakers are now focusing production toward medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and their potential for electrification. This is especially exciting news for fleet managers who are already transitioning light-duty vehicle fleets to electric.

Political influence and consumer tastes worldwide now favor a transformation in how trucks are fueled. President Joe Biden’s administration and the recent infrastructure legislation show an eagerness to make the transition. They want to cut greenhouse gases in half by 2030 and reach a net-zero emissions goal in a few decades. That requires drivers and fleet management to switch to the new electric vehicles hitting the roads now or soon.

Economic reality of electrics vehicles

Desires to be eco-conscious may be accelerating the number of commercial EVs and buses rolling off production lines. However, there is also a growing recognition that the total cost of EV ownership is growing closer to parity with that of internal combustion engine vehicles.

A new electric truck or car may cost considerably more than a new conventional truck, but the reduced fuel costs and lower cost of maintenance even things out over time. The cost of increased electricity usage is far less than paying for gasoline.

Additionally, Consumer Reports research shows that electric vehicles are less costly to maintain than vehicles with internal combustion engines. Their study found an average saving for a light-duty vehicle of $4,600 in repair and maintenance costs over its lifespan. The U.S. government, which operates one of the largest fleets of EVs in the world, noted in its study that the design of EVs drastically lowers servicing costs, which can offset the purchase price.

More EV trucks coming to market

Pickup trucks have long been massively popular in the U.S., so consumers highly anticipate the new electric pickup trucks. Many are from major automakers like Ford and GM, which have very loyal owners who are eager for the new models, especially judging by purchase reservations already on the books. True, many EVs come with high price tags, but the growing selection of electric pickups and light vehicles will soon accommodate more budgets and tastes.

Here are some of the EV trucks on the market in 2022:

  • 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning. Ford’s F-Series pickup trucks are popular workhorses. Their EV Lightning version, unveiled in June 2021, is the first mass-produced electric pickup truck. It resembles a traditional half-ton pickup but features a new chassis designed to incorporate the battery pack and motors. The Lightning can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds, making it Ford’s quickest pickup yet. Ford reportedly has 120,000 pre-orders for the F-Series EV truck, which is expected to launch in spring 2022. Ford plans a gradual production ramp-up for the truck, so it will be a long time before they are widely available. The pricing will start below $40,000, but better-equipped versions or those with extended-range batteries are expected to cost well over $50,000.
  • 2021 Tesla Cybertruck. The Tesla Cybertruck combines the utility of a truck with a sports car performance both on-road and off-road. The Cybertruck will have three versions: a single motor rear-wheel drive as well as dual-motor and tri-motor all-wheel-drive variations. The top-of-the-line models have ranges over 500 miles, making Tesla’s Cybertruck one of the most capable.
  • 2022 Chevrolet Silverado EV. Chevrolet’s new electric pickup, the Silverado EV, is powered by GM’s Ultium battery system, which scales up to provide a 400-mile range. The Silverado EV was delayed by the pandemic but is expected next year.
  • 2022 GMC Hummer EV: The original Hummer vehicles were heavy on fuel consumption. The new EBV Hummers are expected to combine the vehicles’ impressive off-road capabilities with power (and a much higher price tag). The Hummer EV Truck features a 24-module Ultium battery pack that has a 350-mile range. Regular models offer 625 hp and 7,400 lb.-ft. of torque. The higher-end model can produce 1,000 horsepower and approximately 11,500 lb.-ft. of torque.

Medium and heavy-duty commercial EVs

Electric buses and garbage trucks are already in use, but what about electric medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles? While the number of Class 8 electric trucks on roads is still low, more companies are piloting them and placing initial orders.

Here are just some developments in this area as businesses explore electrification:

  • Several electric commercial truck makers have ramped up production and demo fleets to entice buyers. While known primarily for its buses, BYD is currently the world’s largest maker of EVs.
  • Volvo Trucks now offers six models, including Class 8 vehicles with a 275-mile range and fast-charging capability. Last fall, Volvo received the largest order to date of heavy electric trucks from DFDS, Northern Europe’s shipping and logistics giant. The initial part of the order for 100 Volvo FM Electric trucks will be delivered during 2022 with the remainder due in 2023.
  • Southern California Edison is using a Class 8 EV, the Freightliner eCascadia, from Daimler, the largest truck maker in the world. The big rig, capable of towing a 60,000-pound trailer, is being used by the utility to move heavy equipment. Daimler reportedly plans to put the Freightliner eCascadia electric big rig into production next year.
  • Rivian is delivering electric delivery vans to Amazon. They made an initial delivery in 2021, and will deliver 10,000 more vans in 2022.

Full transition to net-zero fleets by 2030

Adopting electric trucks and cars is a crucial part of government and fleet plans to help decrease emissions. The pipeline is not likely to flood the market, particularly for trucks, in the next couple of years. However, fleets are rapidly replacing light-duty vehicles and will undoubtedly begin gaining experience with electric trucks.

What about fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs)? Where would drivers get the fuel? Concerns have been raised about infrastructure for electrification across the country. The reality is that most people who drive EVs charge them at home or work. Moving to alternative fuel sources is not likely to occur by 2030.

Efforts are underway to develop heavy-duty EV charging solutions and newer truck stops to accommodate electric commercial vehicles.

Getting Expert Planning Help

Developing a strategy for fleet transition, implementing charging stations at employees’ homes and worksites, and embracing the electrification movement, is complicated. Qmerit, an industry leader, can help create your EV fleet charging infrastructure and strategy.

With close to 1,000 licensed installers across the U.S. and Canada, Qmerit takes the stress out of vetting charging station installers to start growing your infrastructure. Our mission is to make electrification accessible and affordable.

We have developed a proprietary platform and years of expertise ensuring safe and effective charge station installations across the United States and Canada. Qmerit offers turnkey solutions that simplify the entire home EVSE installation process. We streamline communication and use a coast-to-coast team of certified EVSE installers. You get the benefit of our experience, predictable pricing along with the convenience of a single vendor for the whole process.

Contact Qmerit today to find out how we can help you embrace the future with electrification.

Author: Ken Sapp Ken Sapp Senior Vice President, Business Development