Our industry is moving towards using electric trucks. Everything from heavy-duty big rigs, and semi-trucks to box trucks and freight vehicles, even delivery vans. Freight companies in the UK and Europe are looking to North America for inspiration when it comes to increased model availability, political momentum, expanded infrastructure, and declining costs.
The United States and Canada currently use 85 zero-emissions freight vehicle models from over 30 manufacturers. This includes the anticipated Tesla semi-truck which has seen a massive demand from big-name corporations across the board.
Why the UK should follow the lead of North America
We’re already seeing a large shift towards the use of electric and hybrid cars across the United Kingdom. Consumer demand is high. Electric and plug-in hybrids currently constitute 14% of total UK car sales.
It’s a vastly different story in the UK and Western Europe. The electric heavy freight market simply doesn’t exist here. But that is where there is a massive opportunity for change.
Industry studies indicate that if fast charge networks are developed for trucks, electric can easily beat diesel in terms of cost. With 7% of worldwide carbon emissions generated by trucks, it’s a fantastic potential environmental benefit.
This can be achieved by a purchase price incentive, introduced by the UK government, to boost the electric truck market in Britain. This would help to quickly develop fast-charging facilities in transport locations.
How to embrace electric
Government subsidies that speed the development of charging networks along main roads will quickly allow the United Kingdom to decarbonise and make cost savings. We can place these charging networks at existing haulier home depots, ports, and logistics centres across the UK.
This would help us to catch up with companies across the Atlantic in North America. Decarbonising freight transport strengthens the ‘green’ image of the United Kingdom, and it keeps the country competitive in a rapidly changing economic climate. Keep in mind that battery prices are quickly declining faster than the price of hydrogen fuel cells.
Soon, we might see a future where an electric-powered lorry can be operated for 4.5 hours and then be charged for 40 minutes on a high-powered charging device. Also, it should be noted that heavy goods transportation is typically concentrated across main roads, ports and industry terminals.
Given the compact size of the United Kingdom, fewer chargers would be necessary for our country compared to vast countries such as the USA and Canada.
We look forward to the increased adoption of electric vehicles across our industry. As we can see across the pond, we have massive potential for enhancing our electric freight capabilities while saving on cost in the long run.