Naturally, hauling heavy rigs across the country at highway speeds tends to burn through a large amount of fuel. It is estimated that the cost of fuel for a heavy haul truck is about $20 – $30 per hour it is on the road; this number increases in the U.K., where fuel costs about $40 – $60 per hour for large fleets. Furthermore, the expense of gas for heavy haul trucking companies is greater than a trucker’s salary per hour, making the option of converting to electric fleets an increasingly attractive option.
For regular sized vehicles, the current price of gas in the U.S. is cheaper than it has been in years. So cheap in fact, that the expense of owning an electric car is greater than the savings an electric car driver would accumulate by forgoing gas. The implication of this finding is that it could take close to a decade to “break even”— or, offset the high costs of owning an electric car with the savings accrued from choosing electricity over gasoline. Since the shelf-life of how long people will normally keep a car is rarely as long as ten years, the minimal savings of switching to an electric vehicle does not offer the individual driver much incentive to push for an electric transition.
However, using electricity to fuel heavy rigs could provide the opposite effect for heavy haul trucking companies – the colossal amount of fuel that heavy haul trucks consume make electric fleets a more economically viable option than electrifying smaller vehicles. Electricity is about half of the cost of gasoline or diesel, meaning the more fuel you burn, the more you save. The 8 – 13 gallons of fuel that an average 40-ton long-haul truck driving at 60 mph burns per hour may make it a fiscally smarter option to switch to electric fleets. The same can’t be said for smaller vehicles, which don’t typically consume enough fuel to make it economically advantageous to switch from gas to electricity.
There would be logistical hurdles to overcome if there were a widespread switch to electric heavy haul trucking. Tractors would have to be switched out when their batteries get exhausted, a shelf-life that is estimated to be about 120 miles—roughly two hours. While heavy haul drivers might be hesitant about the need to stop and swap out their depleted tractor for a fresh, fully-charged tractor, the profits that could arise from an electric switch may stifle objections. Additionally, catenary systems that charge electric and hybrid trucks would have to be implemented along highway lines, but fortunately this technology already exists. The economic benefits of electrifying heavy haul trucking companies could make it an impending reality for the industry. At LTA Logistics,we are always on the lookout for the most efficient means of heavy haul trucking. Call (305) 408-6224 for more information about our services.