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Run on Less – Electric: A deep dive

Jan. 21, 2021
NACFE is hard at work trying to determine not only the type of data to collect but the metrics to use to evaluate that data to show that electric trucks can actually deliver real freight in certain duty cycles.

I got a lot of questions following NACFE’s announcement that we would be conducting a Run on Less demonstration with electric vehicles. People wanted to know why we were doing it now.

In previous Run on Less events, where the technology was proven, we were trying to show what fleets and drivers that were committed to improving fuel efficiency could achieve MPG numbers significantly higher than the average MPG for the nation’s fleet as a whole. With Run on Less – Electric we are focusing on myth-busting because there are still people out there that say electric trucks won’t work. Our goal is to show that electric trucks can actually deliver real freight in certain duty cycles. While they don’t yet make sense in long-haul applications, for the pick-up-and-delivery market and drayage segments and as yard spotters — to name a few — they are very well suited.

We see Run on Less – Electric as an opportunity for the whole industry to learn more about electric trucks, and we hope that what we’ll learn will encourage more fleets to begin testing electric trucks in their operations. The Run will include trucks in Classes 3-8, but while we expect many of the participants will be in the lower GVW range, there are still things we will be able to learn from successes in those duty cycles. NACFE will share the benefits and the challenges these fleets face and together we will create an atmosphere for all of us to minimize those challenges as we go forward. 

The only way we are going to get electric trucks to scale is if more people start ordering them and putting them into service. And the only way that is going to happen is if people have more confidence that those trucks can successfully deliver freight to their customers.

We are in the early stages of determining on which metrics we should focus our data collection efforts during the Run. How we measure the efficiency of electric trucks is in its infancy. Some of our early thoughts of what to measure focus on things like the percentage of battery charge, time to charge, miles traveled, number of stops per day, speeds traveled and others.

The question around what data to collect is very important. What we measure needs to be meaningful to fleets in making their purchasing decisions and to manufacturers developing the many new components on these trucks.

The NACFE team is hard at work trying to determine not only the type of data to collect but the metrics to use to evaluate that data. We are very open to input from fleets, manufacturers, manufacturers of charging equipment, utilities — really from anyone who wants to help us move trucking into an electric future.         

About the Author

Michael Roeth | Executive Director

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

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