How electric trucks can boost savings for businesses and supercharge the EU’s green transport plans.
Trucks, heavy goods vehicles and freight transport is big business. In the EU alone, trucks generate €4.9 billion in annual trade surplus. With the revolution in e-mobility well underway, e-trucks hold a great deal of promise and potential for both decarbonising transport and streamlining operations and maintenance costs for businesses. In this article, we dive into why the future of trucks is electric, and how EV-truck fleets can make the difference for a sustainable businesses model and healthy environment.
What are electric trucks and why they are the future
Today, transport emissions represent around 25% of the EU's total greenhouse gas emissions, but only 2% of vehicles are trucks. The European classification of trucks is defined as “motor vehicles with at least four wheels, used for the carriage of goods,” with a mass of more than 3.5 tonnes.
These vehicles are the pillar of trade, construction and commerce across Europe. As an essential part of the EU economy, they carry goods, people, equipment and freight that underpins many other sectors of the economy and combined, carry 73% of all freight transported over land in the European Union. Europe’s reliance on trucks for road freight is here to stay. Less than 1% carried over distances further than 1,000km. 85% of road freight tonnage is carried over distances of 150km or less, along routes for which no other form of transport could be suitable.
This makes the transition to electric trucks a near-term, tangible possibility, as the latest developments in EV-trucks means longer ranges. Breakthroughs in battery density technology could lead to more load-bearing capacity for heavy goods vehicles that won’t be compromised by the weight of the battery. E-trucks are also compromised by the space which batteries need to ensure higher range, so they lack of workload, but new developments will likely eliminate this constraint.
Until recently, the potential of battery electric heavy-duty trucks in EU climate plans and emissions reduction schemes has been largely underestimated. The current EU Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy, aims to see 80,000 zero emissions lorries on the road by 2030.
In reality, today’s technology allows for almost all urban and regional delivery vehicles to be switched to battery electric trucks, with long-haul battery electric trucks just a few years behind in terms of development and infrastructure. The resulting emissions reductions from this electrification of long-haul trucks would make a significant contribution to the EU’s net zero by 2050 goals and deliver a boost to transport and haulage companies in the form of streamlined operations and maintenance and reduced reliance on volatile fuel prices.
Battery electric trucks with ranges that go beyond 400 km are predicted to come to market before 2025, and are set to be the most cost-competitive choice for fleet operators. A 2019 study analysed costs for heavy-duty trucks over their lifecycle and found that, accounting for costs including power prices, purchase and infrastructure costs, battery-powered trucks could replace their diesel counterparts as soon as 2030.
New developments in hydrogen fuel cell trucks are on track to be offered in the late 2020’s and are expected to be a vital part of industrial hubs such as ports, where they can be integrated with other hydrogen-powered systems.
Infrastructure and investment in e-trucks in the EU
Infrastructure is the backbone that will support the swift transition to battery-electric truck and heavy-duty vehicle fleets across Europe. Today’s estimates suggest that in 2030 there will somewhere in the region of 4,400 high-power public chargers in the 27 EU member states. A recent report from Transport and Environment estimates that a further 6,600 chargers are expected to be installed in distribution centres if climate neutral targets are to be reached.
This means there will be one public charger available for every 35 electric trucks, with one destination charger for every 21 trucks on the road. Initial upfront investments in high-power chargers like those supplied by Heliox is estimated to be around €1.9 billion over the next 10 years.
Transport and Environment findings also concluded that prioritising charging infrastructure roll-out at across the European urban routes and highways of the Trans-European Transport Network could be a cost-effective strategy in which electric trucks cover between 9%, and 24% of the total EU road freight activity in 2030 in line with various Industry-Baseline, EV-Leaders and Road-2-Zero scenarios. The modelling showed that, as a result, CO2 emissions from road freight would be reduced by as much as 22% in the most ambitious scenario in 2030.
Even conservative baseline scenarios show that EV-trucks and decarbonised freight will be significant in emissions reductions for EU logistics companies looking to green and reduce their direct transport emissions, while reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
Get your EV-truck fleet on-the-road ready
Electric heavy duty trucks are on the horizon and will transform both long -haul and regional road freight. For OEMs, retailers and logistics companies looking to invest in future-proofing their fleet, going electric is the single biggest step toward reduction in CO2 emissions, cost savings and efficient operations.
As your partner in the EV-truck transition, Heliox provides flexible DC charging and quick turnaround times. We aim to ensure your electric trucks are being charged up efficiently while making the best use of your available power.
For fleet operators, changing long-standing habits can be hard. That’s why we make the e-mobility transition easy to keep your employees focused on the job at hand, rather than worrying about charging or changes to their timetables. Our track record speaks for itself, with over 10 years’ experience in the high power DC charging industry, delivering the sector’s highest efficiency of 96.2%.