ILMA Compoundings - November/December 2020 - 24

Range in Class 8 EV space is a top
concern, Fisher said. " For pure electric
long-haul, it just isn't there yet, " he
said, adding that weight is also an
issue. " We know weight reduces the
payload. It will have to come down
pretty sharply. "
According to The Road to Fleet
Electrification, charge times for EVs
need to be minimized and predictable.
Plus, reliability must be consistent
with fossil fuel-powered vehicles to
spur adoption. The report said fleets
need help learning how to manage an
electric fleet, navigate issues such as
power outages, and work with facility
property owners, vehicle leasing
companies and other service operators
to integrate EVs into their operations.
Fleets also need to have a reliable
infrastructure for alternative fuels.

James Cade, vice president of fleet
services for Ruan Transportation,
said the importance of infrastructure became more apparent during
COVID-19, when freight patterns and
demand shifted. The fleet experienced
an imbalance in its network and had
to shift equipment. " A challenge
was where we could use the alternative-power vehicles because we didn't
have the infrastructure to move the
vehicles where we needed, " he said.
" That has highlighted our need to stay
flexible and the need for additional
public infrastructure for a lot of these
technologies. "

The ROI of EVs
The Road to Fleet Electrification, which
was funded by Amazon, said electric

trucks are nearing commercialization because the cost of batteries has
declined as much as 80% over the past
eight years. That cost is expected to fall
another 50% over the next 10 years.
That would make upfront costs of many
EVs below that of their diesel equivalent
by 2030, according to the report.
Fleets should benefit from reduced
service and maintenance on EVs
because there aren't as many parts,
which will result in operational cost
savings that can encourage adoption,
Tarbet said.
However, today, the initial cost
difference between an internal combustion-powered vehicle and an EV is
significant, Tarbet said. She added that
as the technologies for EVs improve,
they are also improving for the
internal combustion engine, adding

Truck Manufacturers Partner with Tech Companies, Fleets to
Advance Autonomous Vehicles
Truck manufacturers are forming partnerships with technology providers and fleets as they develop autonomous vehicle technology.
For example, Navistar has partnered with TuSimple, which
has been testing autonomous vehicle technology with a fleet of
self-driving trucks driving in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Over
the next four years, the two companies will develop a self-driving
Class 8 truck, with production slated to begin in 2024. Additionally, TuSimple has joined with UPS, U.S. Xpress and other major
trucking fleets to organize an autonomous freight network.
Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics plan to open a new testing
center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and want to have self-driving trucks on U.S. highways by the end of the decade. Daimler
purchased a majority interest in Torc Robotics to develop Level 4
autonomous trucks. Level 4 autonomous technology allows for the
hardware and software to drive the vehicle most of the time, with a
qualified driver monitoring the truck.
Chris Fisher, an analyst covering trucks and buses for Power Systems
Research, said Level 4 technology will be used more in a hub-to-hub
environment. " The autonomous truck would move along a set route, "
he said. " The important thing is the route the autonomous truck would
take would have to be pre-defined and be really stable. "
Mike Roeth, executive director of the North American Council
for Freight Efficiency, said it is difficult to have a completely

24

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

| COMPOUNDINGS | ILMA.ORG

autonomous truck. " If a truck doesn't have to go through traffic
lights or do a whole lot of city driving and can just navigate the
freeway, that is a lot easier, " he said. " We see that happening first. "
Marilyn Tarbet, director of new business development for Power
Systems Research, said there are some niche markets where the
autonomous technology is already in use and proving valuable,
such as underground mining. " There are some good success
stories in certain markets, " she said.
As with EV technology, Fisher said he expects adoption to be
slow. " It will be gradual. It will take a while because costs are high
and [because of] safety concerns, " he said. " Hopefully, by 2030,
they'll have autonomous taking some pre-defined routes. "


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ILMA Compoundings - November/December 2020

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