NACFE's Run on Less Electric reflects the current state of electric trucks across North America....

NACFE's Run on Less Electric reflects the current state of electric trucks across North America. The technology demonstration shows interest in electric vehicles is growing as more companies recognize the value of zero-emission solutions.

Graphic: NACFE

The North American Council for Freight Efficiency has named 13 fleets and OEMs that will participate in this fall's Run on Less - Electric technology showcase and demonstration. They include fleets with heavy-duty and medium-duty trucks delivering home goods, beer, wine and liquor, baked goods, snacks, groceries, auto parts, mail, and packages and general freight.

NACFE executive director, Mike Roeth, said during a press briefing the group represents a good cross-section of the electric truck market as it stands in mid-2021. There are three delivery vans, three medium duty box trucks, one heavy-duty truck, and four heavy-duty tractors operating in a mix of regional and drayage operations, he said, adding that of particular interest were vehicles from the food service and beverage sectors.

"Food and beverage has popped up as an early adopter," he said. "Those trucks deliver to stores and restaurants, and while they end up with less miles a lot of time than then some other regional trucks, they sometimes run really heavy. That may not make a lot sense with electric trucks, but I think the operation is better for it."

There will also be at least one terminal tractor in the mix, which Roeth says is a particularly interesting application.

"They can run some pretty heavy-duty cycles, running 24 hours a day seven days a week with only 30- to 60-minute quick charges between cycles," he pointed out.

Discussions to secure participants began last fall with 25 to 30 OEMs. Roeth said they had planned to cap participation at 10 trucks, but eventually settled on 13. That number is interesting in itself, as in the past there were just a handful of manufacturers offering electric trucks. Many of the companies NACFE spoke with initially decided not to participate because they weren't yet ready, Roeth said

"To meet our timeframe for the run, being in September, we said these trucks needed to be at the location, hauling real freight on June 1," he said. "There are a number of truck builders that have products coming -- maybe they're in engineering or some early field testing -- but they wouldn't be ready by June 1."

The following fleets and OEMs are helping NACFE and its partner RMI showcase the benefits and discuss the challenges of electric trucks.

  • Alpha Baking Co. operating a Workhorse C1000 in Chicago, Illinois
  • Anheuser-Busch using a BYD tractor in the Los Angeles area
  • Biagi Brothers operating a Peterbilt 579EV out of Sonoma, California
  • Cardenas Inc. using an Xos van in Ventura, California
  • NFI using a Volvo VNR Electric out of Chino, California
  • Penske operating a Freightliner eCascadia in Los Angeles
  • PepsiCo’s Frito Lay Division using a Cummins box truck in Modesto, California
  • Purolator operating a Motiv-powered step van in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Roush Fenway Racing using a ROUSH CleanTech truck out of Concord, North Carolina
  • Ruan using an Orange EV terminal tractor in Otsego, Minnesota
  • Ryder System, Inc. using a Lonestar Specialty Vehicles terminal tractor in Georgetown, Kentucky
  • SAQ: Quebec Liquor board operating a LION8 truck in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • TBD operating a Lightning eMotors truck in the New York City area

No hydrogen fuel-cell electric trucks are included in this first Run on Less Electric event.

Electric Truck Bootcamp

In the run up to Run on Less Electric will be 10 training sessions dubbed the Electric Truck Bootcamp. Each training will focus on a different aspect of electric trucks, including everything from charging, infrastructure build-out and power management, to driver training and safety, and to how to work with utilities, leveraging incentives and more.

The session will be presented online in an hour-long virtual webinar style with three to five subject matter experts from the industry. Each will be followed by a Q&A session.

"We plan to loop in folks from across the electric truck ecosystem, such as charging ones the hardware providers, power management companies and others," said Bootcamp organizer, Jessie Lund, senior associate at RMI.

The first Bootcamp session is scheduled for April 20,  followed by a new training every other Tuesday through Aug. 24. Topics the Bootcamp will cover include:

  •  Why Electric Trucks?
  • Charging 101 — Planning & Buildout
  • Charging 201 — Power Management & Resilience
  • Working with Your Utility
  • Incentives for Electrification
  • Maintenance, Training & Safety
  • Finance & Innovative Business Models
  • Battery Supply Chains & End of Life
  • Global Perspectives
  • Drivers & Electric Trucks

Users can register for the Electric Truck Bootcamp and get more information on each of the sessions here

RoL-e Kicks off in September

The three-week event will start on Sept. 3, at ACT Expo and will feature metrics and daily real-world stories on The Run’s finale will take place at the North American Commercial Vehicle show in Atlanta Sept. 27 to 30.

Title sponsors include Dana, Meritor and Shell, with others sponsoring individual elements of the Run as well. One element of Shell’s support of the program will be to provide Renewable Energy Certificates equal to the total energy usage of all of the participating battery electric vehicles.

"I can't say enough about these 13 fleets," Roeth said. "They are pioneers clearly on the proverbial bleeding edge and blasting through the barriers to help us all. They really believe in the future of electric trucking, and they want to be on the leading edge."

About the author
Jim Park

Jim Park

Equipment Editor

A truck driver and owner-operator for 20 years before becoming a trucking journalist, Jim Park maintains his commercial driver’s license and brings a real-world perspective to Test Drives, as well as to features about equipment spec’ing and trends, maintenance and drivers. His On the Spot videos bring a new dimension to his trucking reporting. And he's the primary host of the HDT Talks Trucking videocast/podcast.

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