With the government’s target to reduce carbon emissions and plans to stop the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, it looks as though electric vehicles will be playing a more significant role on our roads. But what does this mean for the haulage industry?
Given the long-distance journeys that trucks are often expected to make, could electricity really provide a viable alternative?
Initially a development project in 2007, the first electric trucks from Paneltex hit the roads in the UK in 2008. After a succession of successful trials and pilots in numerous fleets, the UK’s only fully electric 18-tonne truck has come to fruition. Fleet managers from across the country have put it through its paces, offering a glimpse into the future of trucking.
Paneltex currently offer three battery pack options, with a capacity of 80, 120 or 160 kWh. The battery pack can be optimised based on the duty cycle of the vehicle in question, therefore maximising efficiency. This means that, even with an effective payload, Paneltex trucks can achieve a working range of up to 240km. While the new vehicle has an increased range of 250- 300 KMs and will cost an estimated five per cent of current equivalent fuelling expenses which would benefit haulage companies, logistics companies and couriers alike.
Sid Sadique, Chairman of Electra Vehicles, said: “The painstaking process of creating a fit for purpose vehicle of such a size involved the team stripping down a regular diesel vehicle, creating an inventory of each individual part and researching how it can be replaced to work in the context of an electric vehicle.”
From humble beginnings: “This new truck is perfect now for city deliveries and with the way the world is heading, the call for electric vehicles is growing by the day.” Hovis, Royal Mail and UPS have also created concept designs for electric vehicles to eventually be added to their fleets in a move that would help prepare the businesses for a lower carbon future.
However, whilst advancements in technology are clear to see, could cost remain a barrier to the industry? The industry can’t afford to lose the service efficiency it depends on. It could be that the upfront costs of purchasing an electric truck, which is likely to be substantially higher than a traditional fuel option, be compensated over time for by the estimated amount of fuel saved?
One thing is certain, with the mounting pressure for the government to act in response to growing global concern about climate change, will there will be significant transformation in the industry. How quickly the change comes about will no doubt rely on government policy and innovation such as that coming from companies like Paneltex.
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