The Future Is Now: Two Truths and a Lie

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Mikal Ann Byrd, Special Programs Manager

 

The future is now…or at least it is coming to a dealership near you soon!

What a roller coaster ride I experienced at the ACT Expo last month in Long Beach, California.  There were nearly 8,000 attendees eager to learn the ins and outs of all zero emission trucks (ZEV) not just those powered by battery electricity (BEV).  One minute I was energized by the enthusiasm of speakers from big companies like Sysco and UPS. The next minute I was brought back down to reality by Kenworth’s own Mike Gerty, Director of Advanced Research, who talked about the amount of infrastructure planning required before even placing an order for a K270 or T680e.  What I’m about to share will shed some light on a couple facts and one myth about adding a ZEV to your fleet that I learned.

First Truth:  There are two kinds of fleets in America – those that have already added  zero emission trucks and those that will.  I heard that statement multiple times during the expo.  14 states including Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia agreed to follow California’s lead in implementing the Advanced Clean Truck regulation requiring new fleet purchases to include a ZEV by as early as 2025.

Second Truth:  Infrastructure is the biggest barrier to entry for companies trying to add a ZEV to their fleet.  This is due to the high cost of charging systems and their installation; the need for additional real estate to dedicate to charging; negotiating with utility companies to gain access to more power; and I could keep adding to this list of obstacles.  But the list of solutions is growing, too.  For example, there are incentives available from both the federal and state governments that may help offset costs.

The Lie:  Diesel engines are going away as fast as zero emission options are being introduced.  Diesel engines are not going away but they will become increasingly more expensive as manufacturers make changes that allow them to burn fuel more cleanly.  It is going to take a while for the stars to align for ZEVs to completely replace combustion engines.

Have questions about how this transition might affect your fleet?  Send them to me at mbyrd@kwsco.com.  Put “EV Question” in the subject line.  I am excited to bring you along on this road trip to the future!

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