The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE), along with the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), released a report on a three-prong electrification framework that could make electric trucks a reality in states other than just California.
“We’ve learned a lot that will help us make better decisions on where to move next,” said NACFE Executive Director Mike Roeth, adding that the information derived from the report will not only help state policymakers decide how best to spend electrification dollars, but also for fleets looking to make a shift into this new technology.
The framework focuses on three areas in which the two groups used to determine the best areas of the country to focus on electrifying regional/short-haul fleets:
- Technology: Regions that are most favorable to the unique attributes of the technology itself
- Need: Regions that exhibit the greatest need for the technology.
- Support: Regions that provide the most support for the technology.
In terms of technology, this covers not just the actual electric truck technology, such as range and regenerative braking, but also the availability and cost of electric infrastructure. When reaching out to utility companies concerning the availability of electric infrastructure, NACFE and RMI found that these companies have changed their opinions on electric vehicles and are seeing it as a big opportunity for them. According to the report, fleets can also expect “less volatile prices by switching to electricity since prices are highly regulated and less subject to market fluctuations than diesel.”
When defining the “need” aspect of the framework, NACFE and RMI focused on states and regions that are battling poor air quality issues and an immediate need to reduce tailpipe emissions. The benefits of electric vehicles not only stress improved public health, but also advancing equity and environmental justice to areas that “disproportionality impacted by air and carbon pollution,” like disadvantaged communities that are historically more likely to be located near truck corridors. Freight activity, which obviously increases emissions, was also another framework consideration.
Without the last tier of the framework — support — the change to electric trucks would be less a reality and more of a pipedream for any region. Mandates such as the California Air Resources Board rule requiring every new truck sold in California to be zero-emission by 2045. State programs like the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project in California and and New York’s Truck Voucher Incentive Program can help fleets afford these new electric trucks, which can sometimes cost double the price of a diesel truck.
After analyzing the different areas of the country using the aforementioned framework, NACFE and RMI found that regions such as the Northern California, Southern California, Texas Triangle, Cascadia, Front Range, and Northeast mega-regions show the highest potential for electrification. Since many larger trucking companies — which are more likely to try out new truck technology — are not always confined to one state, electrification would work best at a regional level, according to the report. Fleets that have routes in the range of approximately 230 miles would benefit the greatest from electric trucks, as well as the availability of charging infrastructure either on-site or nearby.
For the full report, visit the NACFE website.