New report by NACFE and RMI reveals key findings on electric truck depots

NACFE releases new report on electric truck depots

May 10, 2024
Details of the year-long effort surrounding Run on Less–Electric Depot are shared along with initial findings and lessons learned from the demonstration.

The North American Council for Freight Efficiency and RMI have released a new report titled Electric Truck Depots Are Evolving: How 10 Fleets Grew Their BEV Populations. The report documents the yearlong effort to bring Run on Less–Electric Depot to fruition and analyzes the initial findings and lessons learned from this demonstration.

The report explains what RoL-E Depot was and why NACFE thought it was essential to launch the effort, which followed 22 battery-electric trucks at 10 fleet depots in North America. The purpose of RoL-E Depot was to focus on the benefits and challenges of scaling from one or two battery-electric trucks to 15 or more.

“We’re definitely on the edge of a new time where BEVs are starting to get adopted in the commercial vehicle space,” said Isaiah Larson, program manager of electric walk-in vans at Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp.

After reviewing 121 fleet depots, NACFE selected 10 that had deployed BEVs at scale. For each RoL-E depot entry, NACFE required both the fleets and the OEMs to agree to participate.

“Battery-electric vehicles are not just expensive lawn ornaments,” said Katy Link, electromobility sales manager at Volvo Trucks North America. “These trucks are pulling trailers and delivering goods in a sustainable way.”

The report details the methods used to select the participating fleets, routes, and equipment, as well as what was measured, so that the trucking industry may learn from these progressive fleets that are leading the way to further electrification. The selected participants represent truck sizes, duty cycles, and use cases among electric vehicles in fleet operations today.

“We’re seeing telematics data is really a key component to fleet electrification strategies,” said Charlotte Argue, senior manager of sustainable mobility at  Geotab.

Key findings determined just after the Run proved valid, as NACFE continued analyzing the data through April 2024.

See also: NPTC partners with NACFE and Clean Freight Coalition

One key finding was that the fleets in RoL-R Depot were a good representation of the current state of the trucking industry. Of the 850 trucks operated out of the 10 depots, 291 were BEVs. The depots had 139 chargers, and 1,044 MWh of power was used as the trucks traveled 446,831 miles over the three weeks of the Run.

Another key finding was that small depots are ready for electrification now. NACFE defines a small energy depot as requiring less than 10 MWh of power per day because of the small number of trucks and/or low number of miles those trucks travel in a day. Energizing these depots is less expensive. 

Electrification at large energy depots is gaining momentum. NACFE defines a large energy depot as one that requires a high amount of power, typically exceeding 35 MWh per day, because a large number of trucks operate out of the depot and travel longer distances. Sometimes, the BEVs are even driven during two shifts.

One challenge reinforced during the Run is that it’s still taking too long for power delivery and infrastructure to be installed, which is driving portable/temporary charging. It took 9 to 36 months to energize the infrastructure at the 10 depots participating in RoL-E Depot.

NACFE also found that there have been big improvements in trucks and chargers since Run on Less – Electric in 2021. RoL-E Depot demonstrated that the industry needs to reduce cost and weight to improve the total cost of ownership and that the range can be extended with multiple charges per shift both at the depot and en route. NACFE also believes that the diversity, passion, and capability of the people involved are helping to scale the adoption of electric trucks.

NACFE is currently working on a follow-up report that will analyze all the learnings from the Run. This upcoming report will include a deeper dive into the interviews completed and the data collected during the Run, as well as data from a workshop following the Run and other developments in truck electrification.

About the Author

FleetOwner Staff

Our Editorial Team

Kevin Jones, Editorial Director, Commercial Vehicle Group

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