Beyond conventional trucks

More and more manufacturers have begun to develop and improve electric vehicle (EV) technology, but adoption of this newly emerging market is in its infancy. One company, FedEx, has begun a pilot program to test this new technology. The transportation...


By way of example, Sondhi says FedEx’s pick-up and delivery vehicles that operate in Manhattan typically only operate about 20 miles per day. Buying a truck with a 100-mile range would be a very costly proposition because the longer an EV’s range, and thus its battery capacity, the more expensive the vehicle purchase price.

There are also different battery charge characteristics to consider, he adds. A 50-mile EV truck might require a 3- to 4-hour recharge while a 100-mile truck might need 8 hours.

Another important consideration in the choice of an EV, says Sondhi, is factoring in vehicle auxiliary loads as part of the mileage. For instance, if FedEx buys a 100-mile truck, it will put the vehicle on a route that does not exceed 50 miles a day because total driving distance is also dependent upon the types of auxiliary loads that are added. If the truck’s heater and wipers are used for long periods of time, the range will be reduced.

RECHARGE REQUIREMENTS

Once a fleet finds an electric vehicle to suit its needs, it should then figure out how to charge those vehicles repeatedly and efficiently.

Electrification of transportation is a major challenge, says Sondhi, and it needs to be done in a responsible manner, taking into consideration the local infrastructure. Recharging electric vehicles now requires tapping into the same electrical grid (an interconnected network for delivering electricity from suppliers to consumers) that is already being used by both businesses and households.

Sondhi stresses the importance of finding a way to recharge electric vehicles in a responsible manner.

“Electrification of transportation is beyond the truck. Before anyone does this at a mass scale and adds depots, we need to work to understand that local infrastructure.”

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