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New report identifies high-priority regions for electrifying trucks

Electric trucks are on the way, and academics are turning out papers to guide businesses and policymakers through the transition.

The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) and the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) have collaborated on a report that proposes prioritizing geographic regions for electric truck deployments.

The potential cash and emissions savings of heavy-duty electric trucks are well-established, but there are substantial barriers to wide adoption—lack of charging facilities, limited model availability and high up-front purchase prices. These factors vary by region, so it makes sense for nationwide fleets to pick the most promising regions for their first rollouts.              

According to “High-Potential Regions for Electric Truck Deployments,” the most promising regions share traits such as mild weather, lower electricity prices, high levels of freight movement, pressure to improve air quality, and supportive government policies.

NACFE and RMI identify regional-haul trucking as the segment best suited to electrification: the trucks typically travel less than 300 miles per day, and return to central depots. The new report identifies five high-priority regions for regional-haul electric truck deployments:  Northern and Southern California, the Texas Triangle, Cascadia, the Rocky Mountain Front Range, and the Northeast.

“In considering where to deploy electric trucks, there’s a lot to think about—everything from charging infrastructure to which climates the technology operates the best in to where the most funding and incentives are available,” said Patrick Browne, Director of Global Sustainability for UPS. “This framework helps not just fleets, but utilities, OEMs, policymakers, and others think through the many considerations to ensure that their electric truck deployments are a success.”

“We are at the early stages of freight electrification, and it requires everyone, including the fleet, the utility, the OEM, the charging supplier, the permitting jurisdiction, and potential funding providers to all come together,” said Ben Prochazka, National Director of the Electrification Coalition. “As fleets are getting started, they should make sure to pick the right location to ensure the greatest opportunity for success.”

“We are already seeing strong policy signals in jurisdictions across the US, which will help ignite the market for clean trucks by accelerating demand,” said Jason Mathers, Director, Vehicles & Freight Strategy for the Environmental Defense Fund. “Now we need supportive policies from state leaders in places like Texas, where conditions are ripe for electric truck deployments, but could use an extra push.”

Source: Rocky Mountain Institute

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