5 Common Myths about Electric Trucks

April 4, 2022 Electric VehiclesTechnology

Thinking of switching your truck fleet to electric vehicles (EV), but not sure it’s the right move? Before you make any decisions, it’s important to understand the facts about EVs. Even as more and more businesses electrify their fleets, there are still many myths floating around, especially regarding issues like battery life, cost, and charging time. Here are five of the biggest misconceptions about electric trucks. 

Myth 1: Electric trucks don’t have enough range 

For drivers and fleet managers, functional requirements are the leading consideration when purchasing an EV. After all, if your vehicle can’t get you to where you need to go in a day, it’s pretty useless. Just like with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, cold weather can reduce electric vehicle efficiency. However, drivers needn’t fear—more than 60% of medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles have ranges that exceed average daily use by around 50%. So even if cold weather reduces your range by up to 20%, most electric trucks should still be able to meet the average range necessary to complete their daily tasks.

If you’re still concerned about electric trucks’ range, consider the following:

  • The majority of electric trucks can travel about 160 to 320 km on a single charge; the Volvo VNR Electric has an even greater range, between 275 and 440 km 
  • Whereas drivers of ICE vehicles must incorporate refuelling stops into their daily operations, EV charging usually takes place overnight, saving drivers time on the road
  • If low on charge, chances are you’re close to one of the 3,000+ DC fast chargers currently available in Canada or the 23,000+ available in the US, to charge on the go.
  • Good driving habits can extend your vehicle’s range—effective braking, for example, can save between 20 and 40% of energy

Myth 2: Electric trucks are too expensive

Another EV myth is that electric trucks are too expensive. While EV trucks can be 2-3x the cost of ICE alternatives today, battery costs are coming down, and there are a number of government incentives and rebates to help offset the initial cost of an electric truck, depending on your location. Over the long term, however, EVs are much cheaper to operate and maintain than gas-powered ICE trucks, especially as the price of gas continues to rise. Although your upfront investment may be higher than a gas model, your overall cost of ownership will end up being lower. 

When you factor in the fuel and maintenance cost savings of an electric truck versus an ICE truck, the EV is cost-competitive on a total cost of ownership basis. Research shows the payback period of an electric truck is about 3–5 years—which is a small portion of its lifespan.

Finally, research from Georgia Tech found that electric trucks are about 50% more efficient to operate, and at least 20% less expensive than their diesel-fueled counterparts. 

Myth 3: The power grid will not be able to cope with the increase in electric trucks

One of those EV questions that gets a lot of talk is whether or not the power grid will be able to cope with the increased demands electric trucks and EVs in general will place on the grid. A number of calculations show that even with increasing demands from EVs, just a slight increase in energy production will be required to meet the needs of drivers over the next 20 years, and it will mostly come from new renewable energy capacities. 

Add to this the fact that residential power load from things like heating and lighting is the lowest at night, when the vast majority of EV charging takes place, and it’s highly unlikely an increase in electric trucks will strain the power grid. In fact, there are actually some cases where stakeholders are implementing programs such as storage efficiency and load management—including using electric trucks as a means of flexible storage.

Myth 4: Electric truck batteries create a lot of waste

While it’s true that the extraction of minerals used in electric batteries has an impact on the environment, the good news is that the environmental impact of battery production is rapidly offset over the lifetime of an electric truck, and R&D efforts are underway to maximize battery component recycling and use. And, since EV batteries are designed to last the lifespan of the vehicle, it is unlikely that you will need to replace it before upgrading your vehicle. 

Additionally, research from Renault found that the CO2 emissions created during battery production are offset after the first four months of an electric truck’s life. That’s a pretty decent rate of return! Research from Georgia Tech also found that in urban delivery routes with lots of stop-and-start driving, electric trucks reduce greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 50% when taking into account electricity production emissions in the U.S. 

Another concern regarding the waste of electric truck batteries is that recycling them—even when done carefully—requires the use of a lot of water. In the process, however, many of the critical components are recovered and reused. Finally, when they’re no longer suitable for use in vehicles, many batteries are still suitable for the storage of electricity. In fact, many manufacturers are designing batteries with this second life in mind. An MIT study found that EV batteries could have a useful and profitable second life as backup storage for grid-scale solar power setups, lasting 10 years or longer in this less demanding role. This could be an important potential future use for offsetting diesel generator use.

Myth 5: Charging an electric truck is complicated

One final EV myth is that charging an electric truck is complicated, when in fact, it couldn’t be easier!  Simply plug in at the end of your day and, with the right sized charger and proper internal training and procedures, come morning your truck will be fully charged. Many electric truck operators opt to install upgraded Level 3 DC fast charging stations, ranging from 24 kW to as high as 300 kW, which can allow you to recharge 80% of your battery in about 30–60 minutes in some cases. For example, a new EV with a 375 kWh battery can be charged to 80% in 60 minutes using a 250 kW DCFC charger.

If you need to juice up while on the road, Canada has over 3,000 public DC fast chargers, and more and more are being installed every day. Depending on your vehicle’s battery size, these gas station replacements can help you extend your range in minimal time, sometimes as little as 30 minutes. To find a public charging station nearby, visit PlugShare or ChargeHub.

While there are certainly many myths about EVs, we hope our myth-busting information helps you see the truth about electric vehicles, and that increasingly there are EV solutions to meet various operational needs. When it comes to EV vs. ICE, there are many benefits of going green. The transportation experts at 7Gen can help you make the transition. Contact one of our professional team members today to learn more about adding EVs to your fleet.