Fleets prepare for arrival of electric trucks in 2022

Darren Epps (Ryder), Michael McDonald (Benore Logistic) and Keith Wilson (Titan Freight) will present “Finding Profitability in Renewable and Alternative Energy Sources” during a session of the CCJ Symposium. Click here to sign up or here for the full agenda.

Environmental initiatives by shippers and fleet managers as well as upcoming regulations are steering fleets towards an emission-free replacement for diesel-powered trucks.

The transition is slow, but for early adopters of electric, hydrogen, and low carbon fuels, the transition appears to be revolutionary.

California’s clean air agency, CARB, is behind the regulatory push for zero emissions. Starting in 2024, 5% of Class 4-8 vehicles sold in California must be emission-free. The CARB timetable accelerates to 30% of new Class 4-8 trucks sold in 2030.

A nearly identical timetable is likely to be adopted by 15 states that signaled this intention last year by signing a letter of intent (MOU).

Fleets are already testing Class 8 electric trucks in anticipation of series models that will hit the market in 2022. The downsides to electric propulsion are limited range (300 miles maximum) and cost – roughly $ 220,000 for a Class 8 truck and $ 20,000 for a charging station.

At the CCJ Symposium in Birmingham from August 9th to 11th, executives from Ryder, Benore Logistic Systems and Titan Freight will share their experiences in running a marathon to achieve zero emissions.

Electricity rental on demand
Ryder, a provider of commercial fleet management, transportation, and supply chain solutions, has learned how to get grants to buy zero-emission vehicles. The company is actively working with shippers and fleet customers to subsidize the cost of equipment retrofitting.

Ryder offers a Workhorse Step Van delivery truck available for rent in California through its COOP platform.“We see this as part of a turnkey solution that we offer our customers,” said Darren Epps, Ryder’s senior director of advanced vehicle technology.

Ryder (CCJ Top 250, No. 13) has tested and used electric farm tractors from Orange and Loanstar with customers. The company also has two Workhorse electric step-van delivery vehicles available for hire in California. Fleets can rent the vehicles via the company’s COOP platform.

[Related: Ryder’s truck sharing platform expands to south Florida]

In addition, Ryder has deployed four Workhorse electric vehicles with leasing customers, Epps said. Fleets that rent or lease Workhorse’s electric vehicles can use Ryder’s network of charging stations.

Ryder also has new trucks made to order from manufacturers. As the new products hit the streets next year, Ryder will continue to act as an “extended research and development arm for our customers,” said Epps.

Currently, electric vehicles do not have a secondary market as battery packs are expected to last around eight years. Epps expects resale values ​​to become clearer in 2022 and beyond.

Bring electrics to SEC country
Benore Logistic Systems (# 144) has ordered a Peterbilt Model 579EV which is due to arrive in September. The company is already working on specifications for a further 6 to 10 electric trucks, which will arrive in 2022.

Benore Logistic Systems has tested electric “shunting trucks” from Orange to handle yard movements.Benore Logistic Systems has tested Orange electric “shunting trucks” to handle yard movements.The company has been demonstrating the Peterbilt 579EV since May in a special contract to supply numerous automotive parts and materials to a BMW manufacturing facility in Greer, SC. The plant is the largest of BMW and manufactures all models of the company’s SUV range worldwide. In total, Benore makes around 1,500 trips to and from the plant every day, he said.

“We have always been involved in innovation,” said Michael McDonald, director of maintenance.

Around 90% of customer collections are located within 80 km of the plant. The slow road speeds and stop-and-go traffic on these routes are “terrible” for emissions, he said. Benore had an unusually high number of DPF filter regeneration events, prompting the carrier to take a look at electric trucks. Having a willing partner in BMW accelerated the process.

“They were very interested in us trying out electrical technologies,” said McDonald.

The Michigan-based fleet will use a charging station at the customer’s factory and is in the process of installing a second charging station at their terminal in Greer, which will cost approximately $ 50,000. Benore is currently working on funding for truck purchases in 2022. It bought the first truck without a grant.

[Related: Benore Logistic brings electrics to the southeast]

With the demo truck, the company was able to drive one and a half shifts between charging processes. The trucks can be fully charged in four hours, and the drivers are charged during the lunch break. McDonald believes it will be possible for the new trucks to operate for two 10-hour shifts before receiving a 4-hour charge.

In November 2020, Benore Logistics demonstrated electric “Switcher” trucks from Orange EV to carry out yard removals for a separate customer, Michelin, in production facilities in South Carolina. The trucks were able to complete two shifts a day between loading processes.

“The drivers loved it,” said McDonald. “It worked really well.”

McDonald sees a number of maintenance benefits from electric trucks. In addition to eliminating DPF filters, he believes the regenerative braking system will “practically last forever”. The HVAC system is completely different without so many belts, hoses and wearing parts.

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He plans to equip the trucks with an automatic lubricator and use a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). The cost per mile will be less than half what the company currently spends on truck maintenance, he predicts. Increased tire wear could be a wild card, but McDonald is considering adjusting the starting torque, much to the chagrin of the driver.

That is perhaps the only thing motorists could complain about. Those who have driven the demo truck “love it,” he said. “It’s quiet and the HVAC works smoothly.”

Closing the gap to zero emissions
Last month, Titan Freight Freightliner placed an order for six eCascadia trucks. The trucks will cost 2.5 times more than a diesel truck, but the numbers show a return on investment, said Keith Wilson, president of the Portland, Oregon-based fleet.

Wilson has worked closely with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Freightliner and Portland General Electric to prepare for the transition.

In order to close the gap to an emission-free fleet, Titan Freight began using a new fuel in the second quarter of 2020 that significantly reduces emissions and creates a cost advantage. The product, renewable diesel (RD, or R99), has been available in California and Oregon for several years.

Made from raw materials such as animal fats and vegetable oils, the low carbon RD molecule is refined to the same standards and specifications as traditional diesel and uses the same fractional distillation process.

[Related: Fleet executive plans to bridge the divide to electrics]

Titan Freight buys RD locally at the same price per gallon as diesel from a supplier who delivers in 10,000 gallon increments to its on-site tank. The company has refueled its trucks with RD for more than a million miles.

RD produces 66% fewer life cycle emissions than diesel, Wilson said, and he calculated that the fleet reduced CO2 emissions by 1,217 tons. Lower CO2 emissions have also reduced maintenance costs while maintaining the same 6.7mpg as conventional diesel trucks.

Titan Freight has saved $ 0.015 per mile by eliminating exhaust system replacement parts and downtime from clogged DPFs. Trucks with RD had no regenerations or filter changes, Wilson said. The company has also reduced oil costs by 75% by increasing oil change intervals as less contaminants enter the crankcase.

The oil saving is half a cent per mile. Ultimately, cleaner emissions have resulted in less diesel exhaust fluid being used. Titan estimates these savings at $ 0.001 per mile. The combined maintenance savings have reduced the fleet’s operating costs by $ 0.021 per mile.

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