Photo: Frito-Lay Inc. | NACFE
Frito Lay Electric Box Truck Nacfe Rol E

The truth is EVs are already here

March 21, 2022
Commercial electric vehicle adoption is projected to grow significantly through 2040. Fleets should begin determining how EVs will fit into their operations.

“Commercial electric vehicles aren’t coming, they’re here,” so said my colleague Joe Puff, VP of truck technology and maintenance. Puff was speaking at a recent NationaLease meeting and reminded the audience that many fleets are already testing EVs in various applications.

There are many good things about EVs, including the fact that they operate on clean power, have low vibration and noise levels, and fewer moving parts. On the negative side, they are heavier, cost more, and rely on a charging infrastructure that still needs to be developed.

Today, studies show that the EV population is small representing less than 1% of the total commercial vehicles on the road in the U.S. and Canada. But projections are that by 2027, EVs will grow to 22% of the market and will reach 40% of the market by 2035. At that point they will grow at 3% per year until 2040.

See also: Electrification at a 'tipping point' as fleets explore adoption

The fastest-growing segments for EVs are Classes 4 to 6 trucks and terminal tractors. That makes sense because EVs work best in dedicated routes where the vehicles return home daily to facilities that have charging capabilities. Sleeper and high-mileage applications will be slower to adopt EVs because of battery range and infrastructure issues.

When determining if EVs are right for your operation you need to consider mileage, payload, and duty cycle, but also factor in weather, terrain, route design, drive time vs. dwell time, battery size vs. payload, charger investment, electricity cost, acquisition cost, and incentives.

Perhaps the single biggest obstacle to widescale deployment of EVs is infrastructure. The analysis needed prior to implementing a charging solution can take 1.5 years when you consider things like easements, and working with landlords, city councils, and state regulators. When considering EVs, it is good practice to engage with your local utility early to make sure there is enough power at your site for charging. And make sure you understand the cost of power and demand charges.

See also: Speak up about charging infrastructure

According to Puff, there also are technician and shop implications to adding EVs. This includes having the proper safety equipment—arc flash shields, electrical safety gloves, dielectric boots and shoes, special insulated tools, etc. Procedures also have to be put in place to cover decommissioning an EV prior to beginning to work on it and technicians will need to be trained in proper EV servicing.

While the reality is that diesel-powered vehicles will be on the road for years to come, we are also seeing more investments being made in EVs with both existing truck makers and new technology companies getting ready to move from pre-production models to series production in the next year.

Puff is right. EVs are here today, so we all need to start getting comfortable with them and determining how they best fit into our operations. 

Jane Clark focuses on managing the member services operation at NationaLease as vice president of member services. She works to strengthen member relationships, reduce member costs, and improve collaboration within the NationaLease supporting groups.

About the Author

Jane Clark | Senior VP of Operations

Jane Clark is Senior Vice President, Operations for NationaLease. Prior to joining NationaLease, Jane served as Area Vice President for Randstad, one of the nation’s largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Companies, Pro Staff, and Manpower, Inc.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...

Fleet Industry Benchmarks: How does your fleet stack up?

Discover how your fleet compares to industry benchmarks and gain insights from a 2024 Benchmarking Report on maintenance spend, turnaround time, and more. Join us to identify ...

Build a Tolling Program to Manage Toll Fees and Risks

Fleets looking to effectively manage their operational costs should consider their tolling costs. Download the PrePass whitepaper, “Build a Tolling Program to Manage Toll Fees...

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...