Fuel Smarts

Electric Trucks Struggling to Gain Acceptance in Calif.

November 13, 2015

Photo courtesy of ARB.
Photo courtesy of ARB.

California roads have less than 500 battery electric medium- to heavy-duty trucks, partly due to the higher expense of these vehicles, according to a report on electrification of these vehicles released by the California Air Resources Board (ARB).

The report also contains a forecast on electric truck costs. According to CALSTART, in 2012 an electric truck with a 350 kilowatt-per-hour battery was three times more expensive than a diesel truck, and by 2020 will still cost twice as much.

One major component in the overall cost of BEVs is pricey batteries, with the current cost landing somewhere between $500 to $700 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) range. The report states that reducing the cost of battery packs and increasing the amount of power that can be supplied by those batteries would greatly minimize the cost of BEVs and provide better mileage, while increasing the number of professions that could operate BEVs economically.

"Standardization of vehicle charging connectors, charging protocols, and more widespread deployment of vehicle charging stations suitable for medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks and buses would allow BEVs to universally charge while away from their home base, increasing daily range and potentially allowing for smaller battery packs, reducing overall BEV costs and reducing the return on investment timeframe," according to the report.

Photo courtesy of ARB.
Photo courtesy of ARB.

The board eventually wants to transform the on- and off- road mobile source fleet into one that uses zero and near-zero emission technologies to meet air quality and climate change goals. The purpose of the battery electric vehicle (BEV) technology assessment is to observe the current status of the five- to 10-year outlook for BEV technology in the truck markets defined by the study as medium-duty (8,501-14,000 pounds GVWR) and heavy-duty (14,001 GVWR and above).

To view the full report, please click here.

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