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A Run on Less Electric reported will be issued by NACFE in April. A more in-depth analysis will follow in May.

Roeth: Learning from the real world

March 6, 2024
A report on the Run on Less Electric findings will be released in April, with a more in-depth analysis following in May.

My last blog discussed the importance of communication and the many different ways to tell your story. The goal of communication is to get your point across in an understandable way. As I learned when working on the Run on Less Electric—Depot infographic, communicating large amounts of information can sometimes be difficult.

After some persuading, I agreed to use comic-strip style to present a concise yet complete recap of the Run.

If you have not seen our graphic, I encourage you to check it out. I want to point out some of the highlights from the infographic that I think fleets and those of us who support them might find helpful.

To reiterate, the purpose of our most recent Run was to put a real-world focus on early electric truck deployments in urban and regional haul operations. The 10 depots we selected from a list of 121 candidates operated 850 trucks, 291 of which were electric vehicles. There were 11 OEMs represented in those 291 trucks, which is an interesting story in itself as it was a combination of some long-standing truck makers and some new entrants.

If all the trucks at all 10 depots were electric, they would have consumed 214 MWh per day of electricity.

What we learned was that depots that require less than 10 MWh a day because of the small number of trucks or the low number of miles those trucks travel are ready today to be electrified. The upfront cost of electric vans and step vans is much closer to parity with gasoline and diesel trucks than some people think. The total cost of ownership in those applications is good.

Depots that require energy exceeding 35 MWh per day because of the large number of trucks or the distances those trucks travel are gaining momentum in electrifying. If you have been holding off on exploring EVs, you might want to reconsider. Battery range and charging rates are increasing and, during the Run, we saw ranges from 250 to 1,000 miles per day with several charging events.

See also: NFI opens 'first-of-its-kind' charging depot in SoCal

The challenge is that electrifying sites is taking too long. For the 10 depots in the Run, it took nine to 36 months to energize the infrastructure. The key takeaway here is to start the planning process early and be prepared to deal with roadblocks like utility approvals, site permitting, etc. Hiring a consultant can help make the infrastructure installation go more smoothly.

We also found that, since Run on Less Electric in 2021, there have been big improvements in both the trucks and the chargers, which makes the case for electrification even stronger.

We are putting together a comprehensive report on the Run and providing more detail about our findings. That report is expected to be released in April, followed by a more in-depth analysis of the data in May.

While the Run is finished, we are not finished learning from it, and we are excited to continue sharing what we learn with you.

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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