February 21, 2012

Are electric trucks now viable?

Yes, it looks that way, after a long period in which very low volumes made costs look high.

Here's an electric truck whose battery must cost less than $500/kWh: 80kWh @$500/kWh gives $40k, more than half of the sales price of $70k. This plumbing company expects their new trucks to reduce operating costs by about $7 per year, and capital costs must be dropping as well, as they last 3x as long:

"It's been a couple years since we first saw the Boulder Electric Vehicle prototype in action but now comes word that the company has delivered its very first production vehicle. The initial DV-500 (as it is affectionately called) has been sold to Denver-area Precision Plumbing,Heating & Cooling who have made a commitment to buy 20 of the all-electrics at a very reasonable-sounding $70,000 apiece.

In addition to obvious changes in appearance, its performance also differs slightly from the original. The production version boasts an 80-kWh battery pack made up of China-sourced lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) cells that weigh in at 1,300 lbs and are said to be good for 120 miles of range. Power comes from an 80-kW AC motor that gives the 7,000-lb truck a 70 mile-per-hour top speed. Charging can take up to eight hours.

Precision Plumbing's Tom Robichaud says that despite the higher up-front costs, he expects to save $6,000 to $8,000 per vehicle per year in lower operating costs and anticipates the trucks to be good for 300,000 miles. Currently, he says, the Sprinter vans he uses now are replaced after 100,000 miles. In anticipation of the electric fleet, the company has also installed a solar array at its facilities.

Boulder Electric Vehicle reportedly has five production lines set up and is busy building the vehicles for Precision and other customers. The company also has plans for a bigger truck that doubles the 500 cubic foot capacity of the DV-500. Hit the jump for a couple clips featuring Mr. Robichaud and his new promotionally wrapped plumbing van."


"electric vehicles can markedly lower the costs of a fleet of delivery trucks. That’s the conclusion of a new MIT study showing that electric vehicles are not just environmentally friendly, but also have a potential economic upside for many kinds of businesses.

The study, conducted by researchers at MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL), finds that electric vehicles can cost 9 to 12 percent less to operate than trucks powered by diesel engines, when used to make deliveries on an everyday basis in big cities.

...there have been “no real surprises from a reliability perspective, but I was surprised by the drivers’ acceptance, to the point where they do not ever want to drive a diesel [truck] again.”


“Nearly 20% of our medium-heavy duty delivery trucks in the state of California are slated to be transitioned to all-electric vehicles. We have seen the accelerated growth and acquisition of this innovative technology because of the support from California. It’s these private and public partnerships that create the momentum that alternative fuel vehicles need to become even more competitive.

...In the U.S., Frito-Lay hopes to reduce its total fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2020, compared to 2007 baseline. "



Used Cars Houston said...

Its very encouraging to see that eV's are financially viable for many businesses. Hopefully it will prompt others to consider EV's as well.

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