Smart city

Quiet trucks starting to make a splash

  • 23 Apr
  • 2 min

Tesla unveiled an electric long-haul truck a few months ago and the competition is already lining up. So what real added value are we likely to see from these intentionally 'greener' HGVs?

Will the 3.5 million truck drivers working in the United States soon all be behind the wheel of an electric vehicle? As things are at the moment, this possible future is by no means a certainty. Heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) often keep going for extremely long hours at a stretch, with drivers working shifts in the cab to avoid having to park the truck to take a break. If HGVs were to become all-electric, doesn't that mean they would have to make regular lengthy stops at charging stations? Not necessarily. Californian startup Thor Trucks has developed ET-One, an electric trailer-truck capable of running for 300 miles (482.8 kilometers) before having to recharge. Once its battery is flat, ET-One can be fully charged up again in 90 minutes. That's much longer than the time it takes to fill up with petrol or diesel but the battery holds easily enough juice to make deliveries around the same town, and it's also cleaner than an internal combustion engine (ICE). Thor Trucks aims to have its electric goods vehicles on the market by 2019, exactly like Tesla, which unveiled its 'Semi' last  November. A number of potential customers – including FedEx, UPS and PepsiCo – have already shown interest in this type of vehicle,  proof if proof were needed that, while not yet in widespread use, electric trucks are very much a reality today. And they do have their advantages: as well as being quiet, electric lorries are exempt from a number of US regulations applying to diesel-driven HGVs. Some traditional carmakers such as Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have also been eyeing up the competition and have entered the race to develop and market an electric long-haul truck. And this kind of competition can only help to reduce air pollution and make our planet a more pleasant place to live... providing of course that the electricity on which the trucks run is generated from renewable energy sources.

By Sophia Qadiri