Now is the time for fleets to act and begin to wade into the “messy middle” of decarbonizing heavy-duty trucking in order to get to a zero-emissions future. Waiting is no longer an option, the North American Council for Freight Efficiency concluded in its latest report.
During the messy middle, fleets will be faced with a number of powertrain options including advanced diesel, renewable fuels, natural gas, hydrogen, hybrids, battery electric power and hydrogen fuel cells with no one right solution for all of the duty cycles.
While the messy middle can be complicated, NACFE does not view messy as bad, but rather sees it as a time where fleets will want to take action, will have to evaluate many options and will need to look beyond just the truck to the infrastructure needed to support that truck.
“The Messy Middle: A Time For Action” report found:
- All stakeholders should support fleets in making the right adoption decisions. This includes OEMs, suppliers, utilities, charger manufacturers and regulators.
- Decisions should include a realistic understanding of your pipeline capabilities. Each stakeholder needs to realistically evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and not over promise solutions.
- An even higher level of collaboration is essential. Fleets cannot traverse the messy middle on their own. They need to engage with utilities, governmental agencies, charging equipment manufacturers, OEMs, and others to leverage all the available knowledge.
“During the messy middle, fleets will need to be open to changing operations to optimize for the new technologies,” said Rick Mihelic, NACFE’s director of emerging technologies. “They will have to look at things like adding stops for charging of battery electric vehicles in regional and long-haul operations and improving intermodal rail use."