Carbon emissions from long-haul trucks may soon be a thing of the past. Electric powered heavy transport trucks may soon be familiar sights on North American highways, thanks in part to work being undertaken at the University of Windsor.
Dr. Rupp Carriveau, and Dr Hanna Maoh, Associate Director, and Cross-Border Institute professor are highly accomplished engineering and environmental professors at the U of W. The two innovative thinkers recently teamed up with 360 Energy to share their insights on the future of electrified trucking with a select group of heavy haul trucking stakeholders.
Dr. Carriveau explained the objectives of the event,
“We aimed to increase awareness in stakeholders that will be critical to making the transition happen and to inform them about what will be required. This progress is not attainable without actionable knowledge – it won’t just happen by itself”, says Dr. Carriveau on the event’s objectives.
The event was organized by the Environmental Energy Institute and the Border Institute, both associated with the U of W.
A featured presenter was Khalil Telhaoui, CPI, M.Ing, from Kruger Energy, a division of Kruger Inc. One of the few companies presently using two 100% electric trucks in their daily operations. They are learning what is required to implement charging infrastructure for the vehicles while maintaining highly efficient operations. Kruger is alternating both trucks and drivers, so they can ensure that there is at least one truck on the road at all times.
As organizations such as Kruger make promising steps toward a sustainable future, a multitude of factors remain that will challenge others wishing to follow their lead. Access will be required to abundant power and to readily available charging infrastructure throughout transport routes. Terence Dimatulac is a PhD candidate modeling the potential impact of electrifying transport on the Ontario grid. His hypothesis, based on current battery technology and assuming 100% of Ontario transport trucks were electrified, is that up to 8,000 MW of additional electricity generation would be needed. This forecasted load represents 1/3 of maximum current Ontario demand.
Adding power generation of this scale would require the active collaboration of federal, provincial, and municipal governments, along with electric utility providers and truck manufacturers.
A barrier to transitioning the heavy haul market is the current price of electric vehicles. They are more expensive than traditional diesel-powered ones. Innovation and novelty can have value. However, purchasers will require appropriate information and knowledge to ensure they are turning a profit by making a change.
David Arkell is optimistic there are ways to offset initial purchasing costs when looking at other operations in an organization. He notes that logistics operators will learn how to optimize
natural gas and electricity use and costs. Arkell explains,
“Clients in the electrical industry have a great opportunity to help reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector and benefit financially. End-use clients and the electrical industry will need to organize and move quickly to take advantage of the coming transitions. Failure to do so means the hydrogen industry will fill the market gap as soon as they figure out how to develop a distribution system”.
If action is taken to manage electrical consumption and pricing, the purchase of heavy haul electric trucks is not far out of reach. In fact, electricity as fuel can save money in the long run, while significantly reducing carbon emissions. Thanks to the work of the University of Windsor and others, this transition will have a world of positive consequences.