Battery-electric trucks will be in the spotlight this September during Run on Less - Electric, conducted by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency and Rocky Mountain Institute. ROL-E aims to validate the progress that has made in battery-electrics truck over the past several years.
Run on Less - Electric will see up to 10 trucks in Class 3 through 8 operating in duty cycles appropriate for their class, and will include panel vans, medium-duty box trucks in urban and pick-up and delivery operations, Class 7 and 8 trucks and tractors in drayage and short regional hauls, and possibly yard tractors, said NACFE Executive director Mike Roeth in a virtual briefing for reporters Jan. 13 adding, "These will be battery-electrics only."
The first Run on Less event, in 2017, was a long-haul fuel-economy run demonstrating how currently available equipment and technologies could, with the help of a fuel-conscious driver, result in better fuel mileage. Despite the challenges of two hurricanes, seven drivers over 17 days and 50,000 miles managed to average 10.1 mpg. The second Run on Less event, in 2019, showcased possible fuel economy improvements for regional-haul operations.
For the third iteration, Run on Less - Electric, fleets and OEMs will partner, Roeth said. "In the past, it was all about the fleets bringing their product for Run on Less 1 and 2. This time around, we'll bring the OEMs in because of where we are in the development process."
Given the different stages of development for the different classes and different OEMs, Roeth said there will be some variety in the design maturity of the trucks in the Run. Same may be a little more mature than others, having been in operation for a year or more, while some may be just coming into operation.
"But they will all be hauling real freight on real routes with real drivers and real charging," he said. "This will be a real demonstration of electric trucks, now, in 2021."
For the first time, trucks operating in Canada will be included in the Run. This year's event takes place over a three-week period in September. Initial results will be reported at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta in late September. The full report emerging from Run on Less - Electric will include insights gained on charging infrastructure requirements, operating costs, driver training needs and more. It's slated for release in 2022.
"I like that we're doing this Run on Less event earlier in the technology development cycle, because there's still a big learning opportunity," said Rob Reich, NACFE board chairman and Schneider's executive vice president and chief administrative ofﬁcer. "This is such a significant change in trucking technology that it makes sense for us to get ahead of that and help the industry learn what those of us who are fortunate enough to get some experience with this haven't already."
EV Learning Opportunities
Leading up to the main event in the fall, NACFE and the Rocky Mountain Institute will host a series of 10 90-minute virtual educational events (E-series) between May and August for industry stakeholders to discuss the whys and hows of electric truck deployment. It's described as an opportunity to learn from leaders in ﬂeet electriﬁcation and will include discussions with ﬂeet managers, charging providers, utilities, engineering ﬁrms, policymakers, and more. NACFE and RMI will publish the E-series schedule in April and registration will open at that time.
“Rather than a typical webinar where experts teach what they already know, these sessions are intended to bring together stakeholders from across the industry to support innovation, collaboration, and the acceleration of zero-emissions goods movement,” said Reich.
Roeth said the E-series session will feature high-level content, Q&A with expert panels, and finally small group workshop-type discussions.
Call for Run on Less Participants and Sponsors
NACFE and RMI have already been talking with truck builders and early-adopter fleets, but participation is open to any battery-electric vehicle fleet that qualifies. There's an application questionnaire on the website that can start the ball rolling for interested fleets. Decisions on the final 10 fleets selected to take part in Run on Less - Electric will announced in April.
ROL-E is also looking for sponsors to help underwrite the costs associated with the Run. Opportunities are available at different levels. Event sponsors already committed include "title sponsors" Dana, Meritor, and Shell. Other sponsors so far are APTIV, Electrify America, Electriphi, Geotab, Lightning eMotors, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, PepsiCo, Peterbilt, Volvo Trucks North America, and Workhorse.
Fleets and truck manufacturers can complete an application using the form available at www.runonless.com. Contact Dave Schaller at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mike Roeth at email@example.com with questions.