The effort is part of a new sustainability initiative that will see Knight-Swift move to cut carbon emissions in half by 2035.
“Sustainability has always been at the core of our culture,” Dave Jackson, Knight-Swift CEO, said in a statement. “While we have made significant strides in improving our environmental footprint over the years, we believe that setting an ambitious public goal to reduce carbon emissions generated by our fleet by 50% over the next 15 years quantifies our commitment.”
Knight-Swift said it will implement several strategies to achieve its carbon reduction goal, but it will not rely solely on deployment of electric vehicles. In a statement, the company identified adoption of next-generation tractor and trailer aerodynamic solutions; continued deployment of advanced idle reduction technologies; use of next-generation clean diesel engines; and operation of zero-emissions vehicles including battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell technology.
The company will also look toward emerging technologies and how they may help in achieving the goal.
“This is really a process rather than an event,” Dave Williams, senior vice president of equipment and government relations for Knight-Swift, said. “Like every other challenge that we have faced in our history, we will approach this very methodically, with very high expectations. While we will likely have to take some risk, we believe that being environmentally responsible and being profitable are not mutually exclusive. We expect these technologies to reduce emissions and to be cost-effective.”
Fleets testing eCascadia tractors
FreightWaves previously reported that DTNA has put 20 eCascadia trucks into operation with NFI Industries and Penske Truck Leasing in California. Combined with 10 eM2 106 medium-duty electric trucks, DTNA had surpassed 300,000 miles in testing in July. In August, J.B. Hunt (NASDAQ: JBHT) completed a 120-mile trip for Walmart (NYSE: WMT).
Knight-Swift will use a preproduction day cab eCascadia tractor in the Greater Los Angeles area, it said.
The eCascadia is capable of hauling 80,000 pounds with an effective range of 250 miles using a 525-horsepower all-electric engine that can be 80% charged in just 90 minutes using direct charging.
According to Knight-Swift’s environmental stewardship report, the company’s efforts to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions cut 3.1 billion pounds of emissions from 2010 through 2019. The company, a 17-time Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay Transport partner award winner, emitted 19% fewer CO2 emissions than the average SmartWay trucking partner during that time, it said. Its nitrogen oxide (NOx) reduction over those 10 years was equivalent to planting 248 million trees.
Sustainability efforts extend beyond vehicle emissions to buildings as well. Knight-Swift said it had saved 2,710 metric tons of CO2 through the reduction of electrical consumption because of solar power utilization, optimization of HVAC systems and installation of LED lighting.
In March, DTNA announced the formation of the Customer Experience Fleet. It began with six eCascadias and two eM2 106 models and is part of the company’s “co-creation” process to deploy new technologies. CX fleet participants are also part of Freightliner’s Electric Vehicle Council, a group of customers working to identify and solve problems that will affect large-scale deployment of electric vehicles.
“It’s critical that we collaborate with customers across multiple segments to further our understanding of how commercial battery electric trucks will be part of a long-term solution in CO2-neutral transportation,” Richard Howard, senior vice president of on-highway sales and marketing for DTNA, said when announcing the CX fleet. “Our customers provide important, continuous feedback that contributes to our ongoing design and purposeful innovation of these trucks and together we will lead the future.”
DTNA will spend the next 16 months collecting and analyzing data from the initial test vehicles.