Two Canadian fleets to participate in Run on Less Electric

Two Canadian fleets will be participating in the North America Council for Freight Efficiency’s (NACFE) Run on Less Electric demonstration this fall.

Purolator will take part with its Motiv-powered Ford step van, recently deployed in Vancouver, while Quebec liquor distributor SAQ enters its Lion8 box truck operating in Montreal.

This year marks the third NACFE Run on Less program, and the first involving Canadian fleets. It’s also the largest group of fleets to take part with 13 companies, up from the usual 10. It’s a diverse fleet, too, representing Classes 3 to 8 electric vehicles with a variety of bodies in different applications.

(Photo: Purolator)

“The interest was better than we expected,” said NACFE executive director Mike Roeth.

Trucks taking part in the electric truck demonstration range from van bodies, to box trucks, to terminal tractors. The tracking tools that will measure their performance are currently being developed and the demonstration will run from Sept. 3 to Sept. 27, where it will conclude at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show.

Other participating fleets include the likes of Penske, NFI, PepsiCo, Ruan, Ryder System, and Anheuser-Busch.

“These bold fleets who have committed to Run on Less Electric represent the diverse range of applications in which electric vehicles make sense,” Roeth said.

He acknowledged there may be a new challenge this year – downtime – since the fledgling technology is not as mature as the diesel-powered trucks used in previous Run on Less demonstrations. They focused on linehaul and regional haul applications in 2017 and 2019 respectively, and allowed fleets to demonstrate a wide range of fuel-saving devices and technologies.

“We do expect some problems, even as simple as forgetting to plug the truck in overnight,” Roeth said, assuring those challenges will be acknowledged during the program. “We recognize that could be an issue. Many of these trucks are fairy new in the marketplace and that could happen.”

You won’t find any hydrogen fuel cell trucks in the program. Roeth said that was by design, since the technology is not yet available on the market.

“They’re just not out hauling real freight in the real world yet,” Roeth said of fuel cell electric trucks. “Run on Less is all about real freight, real drivers, real routes.”

Meanwhile, NACFE is preparing to kick off an electric truck Boot Camp for interested fleets and other stakeholders. It will consist of 10 online educational training sessions covering various aspects of electric truck deployment. The sessions will be held in real-time allowing participants to ask questions. But replays will be available for those who can’t attend live.

The first session is slated for April 20, and a new one will follow every other Tuesday through Aug. 24. Topics will include: Why electric trucks?; Charging 101; Charging 201; Working with your utility; Incentives for electrification; Maintenance, training and safety; Finance and innovative business models; Battery supply chains and end of life; Global perspectives; and Drivers and electric trucks.

All are free to attend and registration is available here.

James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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