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2021 Top 5 e-Trucks For Commercial Applications

2020 Top eTrucks - Nikola Semi Truck - Main Image

Ask any fleet manager and they’ll tell you the same thing – next to paying your trucking staff – the cost of fuel takes the biggest bite out of operational budgets.

Pushing nearly 25% of ongoing expenses for a typical ground logistics business, costs for a single semi-truck can exceed $45,000 per year in diesel fuel.  It’s overhead that literally “goes up in smoke” with every passing financial reporting quarter.

It’s no wonder then that these same companies are well on their way converting their fleets to e-Trucks, where prospects of 60% – 80% reduced fuel costs have driven production demand higher ahead of anticipation of longer mileage versions on the horizon.

60% – 80% fuel savings seem like a stretch?  Actually that may be a bit low…

Even if a truck driver is doing everything they should do in maximizing a vehicles fuel efficiency, the math still of 4X to 5X fuel cost still holds up relative to a truck with an electric drivetrain.

While cars have been focusing on greener solutions for some time, the trucking industry is playing a bit of catch-up.  And becaus the transportation industry is such a large contributor to the overall emission figures associated with vehicles, it’s important that green trucks are adopted into fleets around the world.

The great news is that there is no shortage of new and excellent options and here is a look at 2021’s top 5 eTrucks for commercial applications.

Tesla Semi

Tesla Semi At Tesla HQ
Tesla Semi At Tesla HQ

No discussion of EVs would be complete without Tesla and this is the model with which they are aiming to enter into the world of trucks. The Tesla Semi is a green truck that is meant to replace long-haul big rigs. As the name suggests, this is an all-electric heavy-duty semi that will come in two different iterations.

The first will have a range of 300 miles while the other will have a range of between 500 and 600 miles. As with any Tesla, this semi will also feature a host of futuristic innovations.

Of particular interest is the “Convoy Mode” which will allow a fleet of Tesla Semis to semi-autonomously slipstream each other making them even more fuel-efficient.

Daimler Freightliner eCascadia

Freightliner eCascadia Front View
Freightliner eCascadia Front View

While the name Daimler might seem unfamiliar to many, they are the parent company of Mercedes-Benz and hence have a tone of experience when it comes to trucks. Their trucks are known for their reliability and longevity and they are aiming to bring those qualities to green trucks with the eCascadia.

It is an all-electric 18-wheeler that has a range of 230 miles. This will make it ideal as a part of an urban delivery system. Daimler’s other offerings have been well-received and they have a wealth of experience making excellent trucks. All of this makes the eCascadia a great option worth considering.

Nikola One

Nikola Semi Truck On A Sunset Drive
Nikola Semi Truck On A Sunset Drive

Tesla has bought Nikola Tesla, the pioneer of AC current back into the public consciousness. Nikola Motors have followed that trend and they have used the inventor’s first name for their company. They are a new startup that does not have any affiliation with Tesla.

Their trucks are meant to take green vehicle technology to the next level. They will not only be offering all-electric trucks but hydrogen-fueled trucks as well. This is a revolutionary technology that is still in its infancy.

However, it is where the future is headed and this is a great option for those looking to really future-proof their fleet.

Rivian R1T

Amazon Rivian Delivery Truck Mockup Out For Delivery in Seattle
Amazon Rivian Delivery Truck – Out For Delivery in Seattle

Amazon is one of the world’s foremost businesses and a large part of its model involves transporting and delivering goods. They have already placed an order of 100,000 R1T’s which alone gives this green truck plenty of credibility.

Amazon also happens to be an investor in the parent company which should allay any fears of the risks associated with a relatively unknown company. Given that this is a vehicle that has been designed and engineered from the ground up to be a part of a mass-delivery system, this should be the ideal solution for any large-scale business.

Volvo VNR Electric

Volvo VNR Electric Truck And Trailer
Volvo VNR Electric Truck And Trailer

Another big name in the world of trucks is Volvo and they too have been investing a lot of time and money in green trucks. The VNR Electric is a result of this endeavor and is also a part of Volvo’s Low-Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions. This program is backed by the California Air Resources Board.

To make the process of changing over to this green truck a lot easier, Volvo will offer lease agreements on a monthly basis. It will also include insurance and maintenance in this lease. This is another company with a large knowledge base when it comes to long-distance trucking and it could be the perfect option for those who want their green truck to be backed by one of the most dependable names in the motor industry.

To Sum Up…

Green trucks like the electronic-drive variety covered above are helping shape a sustainable path for an industry not exactly known for it’s environmentally friendly ways.

Through competition from truck manufacturer, and innovation in the battery space we should see prices fall further, and per-charge mileage increase making the business case for full fleet conversion a no-brainer for our cost-conscious fleet managers.

Electric Cars: How Do They Work?

electric car

Thanks to the likes of the pioneering car brand Tesla, electric cars sales continue to grow at an astonishing rate with the trend to continue into the 2020s.

Other major manufacturers are well following up with their own models, and driving down prices.

So before you dive-in into this car trend, it is still important to know how they work.

This will give you a better understanding of the car you are planning to buy. Additionally, you would be better at troubleshooting your vehicle or choosing the right type and model because they all aren’t the same, and that’s a good thing.

Making The Electric Engine Work

The first thing to figure out is how these kinds of cars work. Basically, you have an engine that runs on electricity. Instead of a combustion engine, which is found on traditional cars that run on fuel, it has an electric motor. The electric motor is powered by the rechargeable batteries stored in the vehicles. These batteries are charged at a designated charged point.

The great thing about electric cars is how light it feels to drive. This may be due to the faster rate of acceleration as compared to other vehicles that have fuel engines. Another great thing about electric cars is the lack of exhaust because it runs on electricity and no fuel is burned while it is driven.

Charging The Electric Cars

With traditional fuel-engine vehicles, you need to fill up your tank with fuel so you can run your vehicle. That’s also similar to electric cars. However, you don’t get fuel in your tank but you get electricity and store it in the rechargeable batteries. You can plug-in your vehicle in public charging stations so you don’t have to be afraid of running out of electricity when you’re out. Another great thing about electric cars is that you aren’t limited to charging them in public charging stations. You can also easily charge them at home.

The Electric Vehicle Range

One of the common questions and main concerns of people is how far electric cars can travel before it runs out of electricity. Well, that depends on the model you own. There are different electric car models and they are fitted with different battery sizes and efficiencies.

They are also fitted with different engines. Moreover, the range may also depend on the weight of your vehicle and how much energy the motor needs to use to push the wheels to turn and run.

Types Of Electric Cars

As we’ve mentioned earlier, there are different types of electric cars. Some will only run on electricity while there are also others that can run on both electricity and fossil fuels.

They are classified into three different types.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Hybrid electric vehicles or HEVs are very common and they have been around for decades already but the spotlight on them shone with the Toyota Prius, which was introduced in 1997.

It is one of the most popular hybrid vehicles. Along with Toyota, other car brands like Ford, Kia, and Hyundai also offer hybrid electric cars.

This type of electric vehicle, like the name implies, combines the use of a conventional combustion engine with an electric propulsion system. The main engine that works here is the combustion engine and the electric motor simply provides assistance. The main goal of having an electric motor with this type of electric car is to improve fuel economy.

Hybrid vehicles aren’t recharged, they get recharged through regenerative braking systems, and through the use of the combustion engines. What makes hybrids so attractive is their lower cost of ownership as compared to other traditional cars.

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles

The second type of electric vehicles is what is called the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles or PHEVs. Compared to hybrid vehicles, the battery of the PHEVs are much larger and they are plugged-in to recharge. Their electric motor also does most of the work that is why they have bigger ones than hybrid electric vehicles.

With larger batteries and engines, these cars are capable of propelling the vehicle without assistance from combustion engines for long periods of time. Some of the known car brands that produce PHEVs are Ford, Honda, and Chrysler.

For those who are looking for a better range than the hybrid electric vehicles, the PHEVs are a great option. They can be used for long-distance drives on electricity but are still versatile enough to run on gasoline when there are no charging stations available. There is also an option to run entirely on electricity as long as the car is driven within its range. The combustion engine just acts as a back-up when it is needed.

While it is best to use the electric engine so charging the car as often as possible is advised, you can still use it as a hybrid electric car. In case you forgot to charge it, it will use the combustion engine and recharge the batteries as a hybrid would.

Battery Electric Vehicles

Lastly, we have the battery electric vehicles or the BEVs. These may also be known as electric vehicles because they are fully powered by the batteries. They have a full-electric drivetrain and are very simple. Due to the fewer number of moving parts, they require much less maintenance as compared to traditional combustion engine vehicles.

This helps owners save on maintenance expenses, which could pile up over time. The only limitation of electric vehicles is that they depend on the battery to run. That’s why they need to be recharged quickly and often to use them efficiently.