We’re a couple of weeks into the New Year and it seems like a good time to reflect on what I see as some of the key issues facing the trucking industry this year as it applies to fuel efficiency.
- Vehicle electrification: That’s a big one. Everyday it seems there is some new announcement about a development in the electric vehicle space or a new supplier throwing their hat into the ring promising to deliver on the electric vehicle promise. It’s really pretty exciting stuff, but there are a lot of misconceptions and myths out there. We’ve thrown our hat into the electric truck arena and are in the midst of working on a guidance report on where electric trucks make sense, with several application specific reports to follow later this year. Stay tuned. In the meantime, if you have information or insights on the subject, give me a call; I am always happy to chat with people who are making our industry better.
- Focus on trailers: OEMs have done a great job in the area of tractor aerodynamics, but there is still work to do when it comes to trailers. However, I am seeing an increased emphasis on this as fleets continue to work to invest in technologies that close the tractor-trailer gap, and make changes both under and behind the trailer to better manage airflow. Fleets are looking for better ways to optimize the tractor-trailer combination for improved fuel efficiency.
- Role of solar: During last year’s Run on Less, fuel economy roadshow, three of the seven trucks had solar panels either on the tractor or the trailer. I think we will continue to see fleets testing the viability of solar in their operations. With the help of our partner, Rocky Mountain Institute, we will be publishing a Confidence Report on solar power’s role in improving the total cost of ownership of your equipment to help you decide if this technology makes sense in your operation.
While these are three of the biggest areas where our industry is focusing it resources in trying to improve freight efficiency, I know we will continue to see work in other areas idle reduction, 6x2 axles, tires, driver behavior and more.
I can already tell that it’s going to be a great year for improved freight efficiency.