LONG BEACH, Calif. — Commercial battery electric vehicles (CBEVs) are a polarizing topic in the trucking industry — and it’s part of the reason why The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) chose this as the topic in its first Guidance Report that was released yesterday.
According to the report, while battery technology is here today, opinions vary on if it is a viable alternative to traditional powertrains.
“The purpose of this Guidance Report — the first such report from NACFE — is to bring some clarity and insights into the complex topic of the viability of commercial battery electric vehicles,” said Mike Roeth, executive director of NACFE.
The report points out 10 common arguments for and against electric battery vehicles and delves into those positions to assess the viability for them in the North American market. Arguments for, include CBEV weight is not an issue, maintenance is less costly, and will last beyond 10 years. Arguments against electric trucks include technology is not ready, vehicle life is too short, and vehicle purchase price is too high to see a return on investment.
According to Rick Mihelic, director future technologies studies at NACFE, the study found that: “CBEVs and diesel engines are at different points on their innovation S-curves, but CBEVs have a greater potential for additional innovation.”
The report also found that: “CBEVs are not the choice for every application or market, yet they will likely have an increasing role in the commercial vehicle market and in freight transportation.”
The likely early adopters, according to the report, are urban delivery Classes 3-6.
“There are many predictions about electrification. The reality is for the foreseeable future we will need a range of power solutions to provide fleets with the best opportunity for meeting their needs,” says Julie Furber, executive director — electrified power, Cummins Inc. “NACFE sheds light on many of the complexities that will impact the rate of electrified power adoption in commercial trucks.”
In conclusion, the report found that CBEVs “will not be a solution for every application or market, but CBEVs will have an increasing role in freight transportation in Classes 3 through 8.”