With one-third of the data collected from the Run, NACFE releases some early lessons learned.

New York, New York — September 18, 2023 — In an effort to understand the current state of electric trucking in North America, isolate areas going well and those where the industry is challenged and bring about better and faster solutions for the industry, the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) and RMI launched Run on Less – Electric DEPOT (RoL-E DEPOT).

Since September 11, data has been collected from 22 trucks operating out of 10 fleet depots. “The data collection is going well. We used this data along with work we completed prior to the Run to identify the current state of electric trucking and areas where we can expedite improvements to the known challenges,” says Mike Roeth, NACFE’s executive director.

Key points fall into six broad categories:

  • Small depots are ready for electrification now and electrification at large depots is becoming more possible.
  • There have been big improvements in trucks and chargers since Run on Less – Electric in 2021.
  • The industry needs cost and weight reductions to improve the total cost of ownership.
  • Range can be extended with multiple charges per shift at the depot and enroute.
  • It’s still taking too long for power delivery and infrastructure to be installed, which is driving portable/temporary charging.
  • The diversity, passion and capability of the people involved is helping to scale the adoption of electric trucks.

“We have been able to use the data captured so far to provide a little more depth to some of these key points,” Roeth says.

Small depots in urban areas require smaller amounts of power, less investment and less time to complete. Here is some of the data:

  • Daily Purolator and UPS delivery routes are proving to be in the 14 – 42 miles range.  
  • Frito-Lay completely transformed its Queens location in about one year needing only 0.9 MWh/day of electric energy.
  • Fleets are charging many trucks with a few chargers as evidenced by US Foods operating 15 heavy-duty tractors with only five portable chargers.

“The electrification of large depots is more realistic than we originally thought,” Roeth says, “and electric trucks are becoming an option in longer regional haul return-to-base operations.”

Here is some of the data:

  • Fleets along with their utilities and engineering, procurement and construction partners are delivering big power — up to 5 MWs — to these depots as well as to charging-as-a-service sites, like WattEV.
  • There is a significant amount of electricity needed for these large heavy-duty trucks. It is predicted that Scheider’s South El Monte depot would use 40.2 MWh/day if it were 100% electric, the highest projected daily energy demand we noted.
  • The Tesla Semis at PepsiCo’s Sacramento Beverages depot have completed 384 miles on a single charge and 806 miles in a single 24-hour day, enabled by fast 750 kW charging.
  • Other Class 8 tractors are demonstrating range at double that of the trucks that took part in Run on Less – Electric in 2021. There is better efficiency, including optimizing regenerative braking and return-to-base charging during single driver shifts. This has occurred consistently at OK Produce, Penske,  Performance Team, PepsiCo and Schneider.

“We’ve heard arguments that it is taking too long to deploy the needed infrastructure at depots and at charging-as-a-service locations,” Roeth says. Here are some facts from the 122 interviews NACFE conducted leading up to the Run.

  • It takes from 12 to 36 months for infrastructure implementation.
  • Long planning and approval cycles are necessary to enable the grid for these large loads but are simply taking too long.
  • Other issues include supply chain challenges, planning inefficiencies, delayed permit approvals at the sites and other problems.
  • Fleets are employing temporary/portable chargers and other creative infrastructure solutions to avoid even longer delays so they can begin to use the trucks that have been delivered.

“Given all these opportunities and challenges the NACFE/RMI team is very impressed with the diversity, capability, passion, and dedication to making this happen,” Roeth says. “During our 122 interviews, 49% of the people we spoke with were women and people of color. These new faces are bringing fresh energy and creative solutions to trucking and are working to overcome obstacles in order to electrify depots.”

He adds, “These improvements in the trucks, charging and implementation plans are critical to delivering the benefits of electric trucking that is evident in what we have learned here with RoL-E DEPOT and with past work by NACFE/RMI and others.”

Stay tuned for more data over the next few weeks and NACFE’s Initial Findings which will be shared in mid-October as the team begins various analyses to produce detailed reports in the first half of 2024.

The Run is made possible through sponsorships with PepsiCo as an executive sponsor and Cummins and Shell as title sponsors as well as a host of companies that are event and supporter sponsors.

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