May 24, 2022

What's Next for Electrification? How About EV Trucks, Planes and Ships?


4 Min. Read

When you think about electrification, you probably think about electric cars. But have you thought of electrified logistics, services, and public transit vehicles?

New trucks, buses and delivery vans are already beginning to replace older, gas-powered ones. Even electric semi-trucks and cargo ships are on the drawing board.

Before long, you will be able to ride on an electric bus, receive a package delivered by an electric van, or haul your stuff in your new electric truck.

Electrified pickup trucks

New electric trucks are coming from established automakers and innovative startups. These new EV trucks offer the hauling functionality of a standard truck and are pushing the envelope for range, acceleration and torque. Demand is so high that some models are sold out before rolling off the assembly line.

According to a study by the University of Michigan, replacing conventional pickups with new electric trucks will have a greater impact on greenhouse emissions than electric cars. Because trucks guzzle more gas than cars, replacing one with an EV cuts greenhouse gases.

In addition to their positive effects on the environment, electric trucks offer the other well-accepted economic benefits of electric cars. They cost less to drive, and maintenance costs and depreciation are lower than their gas-powered counterparts.

Last-mile delivery vans and trucks

We do more and more of our shopping online, driving the growth of deliveries and fleets of last-mile delivery vans. Amazon, UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Post Office all make millions of deliveries every day, and every one of those deliveries arrives in a gas-powered van spewing greenhouse gases.

Last-mile delivery consists of short trips, multiple stops and constantly idling engines. As a result, delivery vehicles burn lots of gas and pump out exhaust emissions, making the switch to EV delivery vans a no-brainer.

Most routes are short and within EV driving ranges. And delivery schedules are a good fit for EVs, as vans are parked overnight and can be charged as they sit idle.

Leading delivery companies are on board with the benefits of EVs, and delivery fleets are going electric. Amazon has ordered thousands of electric vans from Rivian, and UPS has bought many other EVs. FedEx has also committed to going electric. Even the U.S. Postal Service has announced plans to go 10% electric, with efforts underway to go much higher.

Electrified semi-trucks

Semi-trucks promise perhaps the most significant gains in energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction. Semis average only six to eight miles per gallon of increasingly expensive gasoline and are on the road an average of 11 hours a day versus two hours for a car. Because of their high fuel consumption and daily mileage levels, converting one semi to electric power yields as much benefit as 12 electric cars.

New electric semi-trucks are in the design and testing stage and will soon be in service on shorter routes up to about 350 miles. With advances in batteries and the build-out of more charging stations along major highways, electric semi-trucks will soon be a viable option for even the longest routes.

Electrified public transit

Public transit is another critical area to reduce carbon emissions and improve public health. Public transit is the source of 25% of transport-related greenhouse gas emissions, and many cities are already operating electrified buses on scheduled routes.

Austin, Seattle, Los Angeles and Oakland, among others, use electric buses and have plans to add more to their networks. In addition, many cities have committed to fully electrifying public transit. For example, Los Angeles plans to go 100% electric by 2030 and Denver by 2050.

Up next: electrified ships and planes

Marine shipping generates 1 billion metric tons of carbon emissions annually or 3% of total greenhouse gas emissions, so electric cargo ships are the next prime candidate for transportation decarbonization. In fact, Elon Musk called shipping the easiest challenge to solve after cars.

While not ready for service, work on electrified cargo ships is ongoing. For example, a Norwegian company recently built an electric cargo ship and tested it. In addition, significant shippers like Amazon and Ikea are pushing for electrified ships, which could expedite development.

Aircraft are another area of focus, but electrified planes are still years away from taking flight. Electrified flight will require new lighter batteries with higher storage capacity, but promising research is in progress.

Accessible charging is critical to EV growth across transportation

As EVs proliferate and move beyond cars to other types of vehicles, access to charging options will be vital in adopting electric trucks, vans and ships. Scaling EV adoption across the transportation sector will require expertise and investment in widespread charging infrastructure. Qmerit leads the way in making EV charging accessible for all types of electric vehicles and fleet operators. It has the answers to common objections to electrified commercial fleets.

Qmerit can help

The movement toward EVs is growing beyond sedans; businesses and municipalities now have access to viable solutions for logistics, last-mile delivery and public transit. However, electrification on a large scale requires significant investment in high-performing charging infrastructure. So contact us to find out how Qmerit can meet your charging needs.

Author: Lowry Stoops

Lowry Stoops

President, Qmerit Network