A new study out of Sweden is bad news for big oil companies. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology found that contrary to many people’s beliefs, electric trucks are cheaper to own and operate than diesel trucks.
Until now, the shift to electric vehicles has mostly occurred in lighter vehicles like cars and delivery vans. Many skeptics believe that electric power isn’t profitable for heavy goods vehicles driving long distances. The assumption is that the large battery size of these heavy goods vehicles consumes too much load capacity. But Chalmers researchers have proven this assumption to be wrong.
Their study focused on a scenario involving diesel trucks traveling between Helsingborg and Stockholm in Sweden, a journey of almost 350 miles. By comparing different battery sizes and charging prices, they concluded that electrifying these diesel trucks is cost-effective. The only exception is trucks that consistently operate at their maximum weight capacity.
For the purposes of the study, the authors deliberately assumed a diesel price that was lower than the long-term average. This makes the authors’ findings all the more remarkable. Imagine how much greater the cost advantages of electric trucks will become if fuel prices soar!
Electric Truck Technology Will Keep Improving
In March, Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois developed a dime-sized battery that can be used for heavy trucks (along with other vehicles). Scientists caused a chemical reaction in which oxygen molecules in the battery reacted with four electrons rather than the standard one or two. In the process, they created a powerful battery that increased vehicle range while dramatically reducing battery size.
This dime-sized battery is still years away from being commercially available. Nevertheless, the trend within the electric vehicle industry is clearly toward smaller battery sizes. As battery sizes continue to shrink, the cost advantages of electric trucks over their oil-based competitors will grow. Before long, even trucks operating at their maximum weight capacity will benefit from going electric.
The electric revolution in heavy goods vehicle transportation is unstoppable, and the benefits are truly electrifying.