Will battery-electric trucks and vans take the trucking world by storm any time soon?
Perhaps not in the near term—say, the next three to five years or so. After all, the current vehicle range (between charges) in most of today’s electric van models is about 150 miles, which is still too short for most truck route applications.
But as battery technology continues to advance, offering longer range capabilities at lower costs, we could start seeing the economic advantage tilt toward the electric vans and away from gas and diesel vehicles in expediting.
So, watch this space. Here are three developments in electric trucks and vans to keep your eye on.
Last fall, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos said that Amazon ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from startup Rivian Automotive in a push to make the company’s fleet run entirely on renewable energy by 2030.
According to Amazon, the order is the largest order for electric delivery vehicles to date.
During comments at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in September, Bezos said that Amazon would have electric delivery prototypes on the road this year with the target of 100,000 EVs deployed by 2024.
“So a lot of these things, we don’t have magic crystal balls to look into the future, but those are a pretty good timeline,” Bezos said.
Rivian hasn’t posted details on Amazon’s delivery van specs—such as range, payload capacity, and cargo area. But, as a frame of reference for battery range, Rivian’s R1T (pickup truck platform) and R1S (SUV platform) offer about 400 miles of range.
Workhorse Group announced that it will display its newly-designed C650 all-electric step van at the NTEA Work Truck Show, March 4-6, 2020, in Indianapolis, IN.
The company’s new C650 and C1000 step vans will offer 650 cu. ft. and 1000 cu. ft. cargo with about 6,000 lbs. payload capacity.
Workhorse C Series vehicles are powered by a modular battery pack system, which provides between 35-kilowatt hours (kWh) when equipped with two battery packs and 70 kWh in its standard four-pack configuration. Depending on the size of battery pack installation, the vehicle’s range is expected to be between 100 and 150 miles on a single charge, while achieving approximately 53 miles per gallon gasoline-equivalent (MPGe), the company said.
In late 2018, FedEx Corp. announced it was expanding its fleet to add 1,000 Chanje V8100 electric vans to be operated by FedEx Express for commercial and residential pick-up and delivery services in the United States.
According to Chanje, the Los Angeles-based, Chinese-backed startup, the V8100 can travel more than 150 miles when fully charged with a maximum payload capacity of around 6,000 lbs. All of the EVs will operate in California.
FedEx expects to save two thousand gallons of fuel and reduce harmful emissions by 20 tons per vehicle each year.