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Run on Less demonstration plugs into electric vehicles

Efficiency of vans to semi-tractors goes under NACFE microscope

Electric trucks will be the focus on the third Run on Less demonstration overseen by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency. (Photo: Daimler Trucks)

Electric trucks from vans to semi-tractors are the subjects of the next Run on Less demonstration by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE).

The first two Run on Less exercises focused on how to improve the fuel efficiency of diesel-powered heavy-duty trucks in long-haul and regional use.

The NACFE Run on Less-Electric (RoL-E) study with the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) will seek to show what technology works and what needs work in battery-powered electric vehicles and the infrastructure that supports them.

“It’s time for all of us to more fully understand the benefits and challenges of hauling real freight with electric trucks,” NACFE Executive Director Mike Roeth said in a press release. “RoL-E will allow us to do just that. We expect the event will help create business and customer demand for more sustainable goods movement.”

Electric truck showcase

The activity in September will be preceded by a showcase of electric trucks in everyday operation. NACFE will focus on electric vehicles from Class 3, weighing 10,001 to 14,000 pounds, to Class 8, which exceed 33,000 pounds.

RoL-E will feature up to 10 dedicated trucks, drivers and charging infrastructure systems across the U.S. and Canada, supported by their fleets and truck manufacturers. Vans, medium-duty box trucks and heavy-duty tractors will move freight in different duty cycles and geographic and climate areas. The 10 fleet participants will be selected in April.

Electric trucks are early in development. Only a few hundred are in regular use. Startups like Amazon-backed Rivian and Workhorse Group (NASDAQ: WKHS) are focused on Class 2 and Class 3 delivery vehicles. 

Daimler Trucks North America, Volvo Trucks North America and PACCAR Inc.’s (NASDAQ: PCAR) Kenworth and Peterbilt brands have medium- and heavy-duty demonstration models in California. Hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric trucks are excluded from RoL-E because so few are on the road.

Education sessions

NACFE and RMI will host fleet managers, charging providers, utilities, engineering firms, policymakers and other industry stakeholders in a series of virtual educational events to discuss the why and how of electric truck deployments.  

“Rather than a typical webinar where experts teach what they already know, these sessions are intended to bring together stakeholders from across the industry to support innovation, collaboration, and the acceleration of zero-emissions goods movement,” said Rob Reich, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Schneider National Inc. (NYSE: SNDR).

Dana Inc. (NYSE: DAN), Meritor Inc. (NYSE: MTOR) and Shell (NYSE: RDS.A) are among early sponsors. NACFE is seeking more backers.

“While the RoL-E program has sparked interest and initial underwriting support, we need more support to build on this momentum and to ensure its expansion and success for the long-haul,” Roeth said. 

“NACFE believes the RoL-E program represents a huge opportunity in delivering goods cleanly and efficiently, as well as promoting a green trucking future,” he said. “Ensuring the long-term success of these zero-emission vehicles requires learning from their deployment and tests in real-world conditions, which itself takes significant time and investment.”

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Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.