Electrification successful at NACFE trial’s electrified depots despite power challenges

It took between nine to 36 months to energize the 10 depots in the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) study, according to its recent report, that provided findings from its year-long Run on Less – Electric Depot (RoL-E DEPOT) demonstration. 

NACFE says the participants selected offered a good representation of truck sizes, duty cycles, and use cases among electric vehicles in fleet operations today. It tracked the data of 22 electric trucks in 10 fleet depots across North America (B.C. in Canada and California and New York in the U.S.) and examined the challenges and successes of electric trucks’ operations.

EVs depot map
(Photo: NACFE)

Fleets participating include Purolator, Penske, PepsiCo, Frito-Lay, UPS, U.S. Foods, OK Produce, WattEV, Schneider Electric, and Performance Team Logistics. Vehicles represented four market segments, Class 3, 4 and 5 vans and step vans, Class 6 box trucks, terminal tractors, and Class 8 regional haul tractors. The demonstration period was Sept. 11-30, 2023, with continuous tracking of the trucks’ vehicle parameters through Geotab devices. 

“A total of 850 trucks were operated out of the 10 depots, of which 291 were BEVs. The depots had a total of 139 chargers and 1,044 MWh of power was used as the trucks traveled 446,831 miles over the three weeks of the Run,” NACFE said in a news release.

Key findings 

While small depots are now ready for electrification, requiring less than 10 MWh of power daily and offering lower operational costs, large depots, which need more than 35 MWh per day due to higher truck activity and longer travel distances, are progressively adopting electrification.

The trial run showed the industry needs cost and weight reductions to improve the total cost of ownership. But the range can be extended with multiple charges per shift at the depot and en route.

steps to create an effective fleet electrification plan: CHART
(Photo: NACFE)

Among other findings, NACFE highlighted that production-level electric vehicles are becoming available for many market segments and duty cycles. The organization also recorded the successful integration and performance of electric vans and step vans, and the enhanced reliability of Class 6 box trucks in urban or compact environments. NACFE also noted the evolution in deploying greater numbers of Class 8 heavy-duty tractors in short regional haul. 

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