Electric trucks carrying cargo could be the future of cargo land transport. They could become more popular than the electric passenger cars that are slowly gaining a foothold in the car industry among the rich and energy conscious.
Electrically powered wheels may come to the trucking market faster than the world of passenger cars, according to Canadian economist and author Peter Tertzakian. In an article in the Financial Post, he explains that the reason for trucks going electric could be simple. Trucking companies make rational purchase decisions based on careful assessments of economic viability. And if they are going to make more money because of using electric trucks, then the switch is imminent.
Peter Tertzakian is the Executive Director of the Arc Energy Research Institute and the Chief Energy Economist & Managing Director at ARC Financial Corporation, an energy-focused private equity firm. His two books, A Thousand Barrels a Second and The End of Energy Obesity, examine the global energy sector’s transformation through economic, environmental and geopolitical pressures.
In the article, Tertzakian cites the example of railroad locomotives. The transition from coal-fired steam boilers to petroleum-powered diesel engines was fast. While it did take 30 years, it can be said to be at a much faster pace than any projections that are made for personal electric vehicles. Diesel locomotives became the new benchmark and had significantly lower operating costs. This could become true of the shift to electric trucks too, and companies will transition when they realize that operating costs can go down.
While people are motivated by vanity, size, flexibility and convenience while buying cars, companies look at the economics of the commercial vehicles’ usage. Hence, electric trucks could be a lot more feasible there and change the trucking business’s face.
“Within the trucking business, Tesla, Cummins and several other manufacturers are in the fray to build the next generation. But it’s still too early to tell how the pros, cons and dollars stack up. Over the next couple of years, CFOs will be grinding spreadsheets to see if electrified trucks make financial sense,” Tertzakian said.
There are other reasons besides the lower operating costs, lower energy usage and maintenance costs; companies also stand to gain from the energy-conscious clients looking to promote energy efficiency as part of their brand motto. Electric propulsion in the trucking business could change the energy required for our goods to be transported and bring about changes in companies’ transport and logistics divisions.
“Several companies with trucking fleets have pre-ordered the Tesla Semi in small quantities, already signalling an interest. However, an important cue will be when the first big trucking company starts making the switch. That will mean there is money to be made. And when this happens the train will have left the station,” Tertzakian said.