Transport vehicles are going electric, along with the shift to electric cars in all the world’s biggest vehicle markets.
A field study carried out by United States non-profit Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and the North American Council on Freight Efficiency (NACFE) “proved that certain trucking segments are more than ready to go electric. And when they do, we could save 100 million tons of CO2 - equivalent to eliminating 25 coal-fired power plants,” wrote Laurie Stone in her report on the study.
The trucks in the study covered almost 7 000 miles (11 000 km), making 1 692 deliveries and saving more than 11 tons of CO2.
They delivered beer across Los Angeles (Anheuser-Busch), international packages throughout Manhattan (DHL), snacks in Central California (Frito-Lay), electrical equipment in Cincinnati (Servall Electric), and more.
The medium- and heavy-duty trucks included four segments: van/step vans, medium-duty box trucks, terminal tractors, and short heavy tractor regional delivery trucks.
The study showed that all four of those segments were ready to go electric, writes Stone.
While they have relatively short ranges, most of the electric commercial vehicles are designed for fast charging.
One of the first adopters in South Africa is logistics specialist AEVERSA, which will be using the first N55 EV manufactured by Chinese company JAC Motors to be imported into South Africa.
“The N55 EV will assist us with the planning, prototyping and rolling out of precision infrastructure for the conversion to DC Fast Charging commercial fleets to accelerate imminent large-scale service delivery,” said Rick Franz, CEO of AEVERSA at the handover in July 2021.
Volvo is also offering a range of medium to heavy electric trucks in South Africa.
It is ahead of Daimler, which expects to start series production of its eActros in October this year, according to the company. No date has been given for its introduction into the South African market.
Internationally, at the lighter end of the market, Ford has announced what it says is the largest US investment in electric vehicles at one time.
In partnership with SK Innovation, it plans to invest U$11.4 billion at “mega-sites” in Tennessee and Kentucky.
The plans include two battery plants to meet strong demand for the Ford F-150 Lightning truck, E-Transit and Mustang Mach-E electric vehicles.
General Motors has also announced plans for an electric pick-up truck.
South Africa’s first electric bakkie could be the “Mazibuko M1B”, which is in prototype stage. It is being financed in part through crowdfunding.