Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry, Electric Lorry: Fleet Electrification Explored
The electric lorry will be a permanent fixture in many company fleets in the not so distant future.
Make no mistake about it. It’s a matter of when not if.
Electrified lorries have far too many benefits for companies to ignore.
Moreover, companies might not even have a say in the future, what with countries everywhere ramping up electrification efforts.
Laws could make it impossible to run non-electric vehicles in day-to-day operations.
Staying ahead of this curve is near essentially, especially if you rely on fleet operations to deliver goods/services.
This is where we come into the equation.
Below you’ll find everything you need to get your electric fleet up and running.
This doesn’t apply to electric lorries exclusively, either.
Sure, we’ll be covering the power of the electric lorry above all else, but the info we’ll provide can apply to everything from an electric pallet truck to an electric van.
It all depends on the types of vehicles you need.
Disclaimer: We should preface this post by stating that an electric lorry is what some would call an electric truck. The two terms are seemingly, interchangeable and influenced via personal preferences.
The Best Commercial Vehicle Options
Knowing what is available to you and your business is key when it comes to deciding on the best electric lorry, van or car to use from a commercial point of view.
Not every commercial vehicle was created equal — some are far greater when it comes to range and carrying capacity.
It goes without saying, but you’ll find it a lot easier searching for commercial electric cars for fleet use compared to vans and lorries/trucks.
There’s more of them, they’re cheaper, and your leasing options are a lot more diverse.
Not sure which to choose?
Below you’ll find some of the best electric lorry options available right now.
Scania’s Battery Electric Truck up close © Credit to Scania
Electric Lorry #1: Scania Electric Truck
Scania has the commercial lane on lock with its Battery Electric Truck, a powerhouse in semi form.
Unlike other electric lorry companies (not naming names), Scania gives buyers the choice between a battery-electric and plug-in hybrid version of the same truck.
With this electric lorry, you can cover up to 250 km (around 150 miles) of range with every charge. Its electric powertrain allows for instant acceleration and is the perfect companion for short to medium-range routes.
The motor has two gears to provide high power over a wider speed span, thereby improving comfort for the lorry driver.
“Acquiring an electric truck is not just an investment in the customer’s fleet, but also in its brand and market. The electric truck enables the customer to stay ahead of the competition, learn about infrastructural challenges and start adapting for the future.”
— Anders Lampinen, Director, New Technologies at Scania
Of course, going with the plug-in version of Scania’s does have its advantages too.
For example, the hybrid powertrain takes 35 minutes to charge up to 80%, giving drivers 60 km (37 miles) of electric range.
Furthermore, Scania’s BEVs come with what is known as a “DC box,” which is used to power body auxiliaries such as refrigeration systems, hooklifts, tippers, concrete mixers and refuse collectors.
Both are incredibly quiet, especially the Battery Electric Truck, as is the case with most all-electric vehicles.
Scania launched this electric lorry back in September of 2020 and has built a fair amount of momentum following its arrival.
E4TP Says: Scania have crafted an electric juggernaut with this electric lorry. Having the choice between a hybrid/battery-electric version gives you plenty to think about.
Image of BYD’s T6 truck touching down in Europe © Credit to BYD
Electric Lorry #2: BYD T6 Light Truck
BYD is looking to dominate the entire industry with its electric commercial vehicles.
There isn’t a single vehicle type they don’t want to cross off. The Chinese company wants to make everything from electric forklifts to electric cement trucks.
We’d like to draw your attention to the BYD T6 Light Truck.
This zero-emissions truck is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses, given its size/carry capacity.
Moreover, the T6 Light Truck has a range of 124 miles, making it ideal for inner-city work.
Charge-wise, it should take around 3.5 hours to fill up, depending on the type of charger you’re using.
The T6 has been a staple in Europe since 2019 after its initial unveiling.
E4TP Says: An ideal option for those looking to invest in an electric vehicle without paying a small fortune. The BYD T6 has a lot to offer and plenty of room to make deliveries a total doddle.
The hauling capacity of the D Z.E. is unbelievable © Credit to Renault Trucks
Electric Lorry #3: Renault D Z.E.
Last but certainly not least, we have the Renault D Z.E. electric semi.
Renault Trucks kind of hit the ground running with this one.
Total range of this electric lorry is set at 300 km, or 186 miles, courtesy of a lithium-ion battery that comes with multiple capacity options.
Choosing the 395 kWh version will give businesses the best results. However, you will need to choose a specific wheelbase to reap the rewards of better range.
According to Renault, you can charge the D Z.E. in less than 2 hours using a fast charger (up to 150 kWh).
The Renault D Z.E. comes with a wide range of battery configurations, allowing companies to fully customise each EV to fit the task at hand.
Renault Truck’s D Z.E. weighs in at 16 tonnes total, with a total payload capacity of 9.4 tonnes, making it pound-for-pound, one of the strongest electric options you have if you’re a business looking at greener options.
Is it worth it?
You tell us.
E4TP Says:Pioneering is the word that comes to mind when we think of Renault Trucks and its D Z.E. electric vehicle. It’s the perfect solution for urban deliveries and a great way of reducing noise pollution.
Why Invest In An Electric Lorry Fleet?
The benefits of owning an EV tend to be universal in that they apply to every type of vehicle.
An obvious benefit is how beneficial they are for the planet, given the lack of generated carbon emissions when mobile.
And let’s face it, electric lorries — and every other commercial vehicle — cover the most miles out of any other vehicle.
Around the clock work hours, travelling hundreds, if not thousands of miles at a time, is partly to blame when it comes to transport being one of the leading contributors to greenhouse gases.
Choosing to invest in an electric fleet is to combat statistics like this head-on.
Buying An Electric Lorry Is Cost-Effective In The Long Haul
Standard costs to operate lorries/trucks/vans can be an expensive ordeal and might get more costly as the years go by.
Choosing to buy an electric commercial vehicle for fleet operations will actually save you money once you have them up and running.
A business or fleet that switches to electric-powered vehicles pay less for fuel — or in this case, electricity.
This is monumental given the rising prices in gas and how many miles your fleet might cover. You’ll need to keep vehicles charged, of course, but the sentiment remains the same.
Besides, it’s very easy to set up electric charging at a depot (if you run an operation that large).
Smaller companies that deal with electric vans might want to look into public charging if they happen to be limited by their surroundings.
Leasing is another fantastic option if you’re in the business of saving money. This tends to benefit standard electric cars, but you can save hundreds each month by taking this road.
Another hallmark of electric vehicles is that they are notoriously simple to maintain compared to standard gas-guzzlers.
Fewer moving parts under the hood means you don’t have to worry about it breaking down in the middle of service/a delivery.
Tax is also subsidised based on the number of emissions released by vehicles, saving you a hell of a lot of money in the long haul by proxy.
Benefit-in-kind tax is a lot lower due to the reduced emissions produced.
According to Go Ultra Low, over “two thirds of current EV registrations are for businesses or fleets.”
We can only imagine that is, mostly, due to the low upkeep/fuelling costs.
Charging An Electric Lorry Isn’t As Complicated As You Think
This seems to be a common answer to the question: “why haven’t you electrified your fleet already?”
EV charging is as difficult as you make it.
Charging an electrified vehicle is often fast, cheap and easy. More so when you have access to charging units at your place of work for guaranteed access to stations.
We’d recommend you look into installing charging stations at your main office/depot.
Or, if you run a smaller business, look into installing a charger at home.
- Check out our guide for the best home chargers of 2021 for some inspiration. And to find the right kit for you/your own needs.
Rapid chargers are the way to go if you’re installing a kit at home. Most can charge an EV up to 80% in under an hour tops.
Electric range of all-electric vehicles is limited. We aren’t denying that. On average, you’ll get between 200 to 300 miles per charge, which for some, is not enough.
Larger vehicles can be difficult to charge, too.
So we can understand the hesitation.
But for short-haul transport, this is a fantastic option, and one that comes with various benefits as we’ve already touched on.
Businesses that take advantage of electric vans and cars will find it’s easier to charge on the go. A large electric lorry, on the other hand, might struggle.
This is why it pays to look into installing a decent charging station at a depot, allowing for quick runs back and forth with no lag.
There’s also a workplace charging scheme incentive offered by the UK government. A scheme that can award you up to £350 per charging socket towards the cost of installing EV charging stations.
Taking The Electric Pledge Is Good For Business
Managing your carbon footprint is great for everyone involved.
It’s also great in that it can help you generate more business.
Going green has become an indirect sales pitch to those who have deep-seated sustainability goals.
Even if you haven’t yet taken the pledge, you can’t ignore the fact that others already have.
It isn’t some fancy online trend that will soon dissipate either.
Electric vehicles are the future, whether you agree with them or not.
Commercial vehicle companies that take the pledge will only strengthen the ties to their client base and established/potential investors.
You don’t need to be one of the larger than life car brands to put out an eco-friendly mission statement.
You just need to be willing to take that risk and be a part of this change.
Companies that don’t will be left behind eventually.
Trust us; it’s good for business.
Electric Lorry Range Explained
Range and charge both run in parallel in terms of the woes tied to certain companies.
Electric range is limited. Let’s make that perfectly clear.
On average, an all-electric lorry can travel around 150-250 miles total between charges.
Power generated won’t be enough to complete deliveries from country to country. Still, it should be more than enough to take a lorry driver and his respective ride from one city to the next.
We’re talking about all-electric versions specifically here. Plug-in hybrid versions of these commercial vehicles, on the other hand, are better equipped if your planned routes are longer than 250 miles.
With a hybrid, you’re relying on two unique sources of power.
The only downside is you’ll need to pay for fuel as you typically would.
In our opinion, a plug-in hybrid is probably your best bet until all-electric versions can match them in the range department.
According to Tesla, its upcoming Semi (an electric lorry we’ll be covering shortly) can travel 500 miles on a single charge.
The Tesla Semi will be an expensive purchase when it eventually releases, but at least you have a rough idea of how far these commercial types will travel in the not so distant future.
Going with a plug-in commercial vehicle means you’ll be exempt from paying VED during the first year.
Rates after that will also be reduced.
It’s Better For The Common Lorry Driver
People tend to forget the lorry driver, the one who is sat behind the wheel for hours, even days, at a time.
It doesn’t matter if he/she drives an electric pallet truck or electric van. A thoughtful businessman will keep the satisfaction of their workforce in mind when choosing the right vehicles for operations.
Electric vehicles are known to offer the most up-to-date tech/comfort.
For example, assisted parking and electronic stability control (ESC), and hill start assist are all helpful when out in the world.
Performance-wise, there’s also a significant shift in quality that is noticeable from the moment you turn it on.
Torque/horsepower is increased tenfold, which only adds to the acceleration/power of the vehicle outright. This is great for larger vehicles when you consider hauling capacity.
Choosing an electric vehicle doesn’t mean you miss out on space either.
In fact, with electric vans and most cars, you have even more space when you compare them to standard commercial vehicles.
Battery-electric vehicles, in particular, have more space for drivers to play with, given the lack of parts needed to make it run.
Electric Lorries To Watch
At the moment, electric lorry tech is in its infancy and will only get better in time.
In other words, the range of some electric commercial vehicles does limit how far they can travel. It’s why you see many “last mile” electric vans getting the nod ahead of others.
Lorries, generally, require a lot more power to get them moving.
It’s for this reason that you don’t see a lot of electric lorries driving around at the moment, as the technology behind them needs time to catch up (as we’ve already touched on above).
We know it will get better and thus give you more options when choosing vehicles for your fleet because of how many companies are working on vehicles for commercial use.
Utilising these vehicles could prove the difference-maker once available, and could help improve profits, given the quality/functionality of such options.
The uncrowned king of the electric lorry? © Credit to Tesla
Tesla: Future King Of The Electric Semi-Truck
When we think of electric vehicles generally, we tend to think of experimental designs that match the inner workings within.
Well, with the Tesla Semi, you get just that and then some.
Visually, the Semi looks somewhat similar to the upcoming Cybertruck — another one of Tesla’s unique creations that is sure to change the way we think of transport.
“Semi is the safest, most comfortable truck ever. Four independent motors provide maximum power and acceleration and require the lowest energy cost per mile.”
From a technical perspective, the Semi is easily one of the most powerful semi-trucks in existence — if it can live up to expectations.
The Semi will have enhanced Autopilot built in to help avoid collisions and give drivers maximum control.
Expect to pay quite a lot for this one when it eventually releases. We say eventually because the Tesla Semi has been delayed quite a lot in the past.
The Tesla Semi was announced back in November of 2017 to give you an idea of how long it’s been.
It’s supposed to come in two versions, one 300 mile version (around £110,000) and one 500 mile version (around £140,000).
The American automaker has proven time and time again that nothing is off the table.
And its Semi could be the best it has to offer yet.
Hyundai’s heavy-duty truck in all its glory © Credit to Hyundai
Hyundai: XCIENT Fuel Cell, The Hydrogen Hauler
Hydrogen-powered vehicles serve as one alternative to electric power.
Case in point, Hyundai’s XCIENT Fuel Cell lorry/truck.
As a heavy-duty truck, the XCIENT has multiple real-world uses that could prove the difference-maker for many aspiring companies.
Furthermore, it’s very easy to fuel, taking between 8-20 minutes tops to fill!
You see, unlike other future lorries, the XCIENT holds seven equally-sized tanks within. This is what gives it incredible range and such a short charge time.
Quick charges mean you can get vehicles out on the road a lot faster, and therefore justify rapid trips backwards and forwards.
Range-wise, the XCIENT Fuel Cell can drive around 500 miles on every charge, according to the popular car brand.
Hyundai will operate 30 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks from the second quarter of 2023. After that, there’s no telling where this hydrogen vehicle could end up.
Could Hyundai’s hydrogen-hauler be competition to the Tesla Semi?
Only time will tell.
Coming soon: three new electric lorries from Volvo Trucks © Credit to Volvo Trucks
Volvo Trucks: Three New Haulers Ready For Service
It should come as no surprise that Volvo Trucks is working on a series of electric lorries, due to release well before the other two, which could give the brand a serious edge over the competition.
The company has announced three new vehicles looking to infiltrate the market:
- Volvo FH
- Volvo FM
- Volvo FMX
All three could shake up the commercial vehicle space for good when they enter production in the second half of 2022.
Volvo hopes that its electric portfolio can cover around 45% of all goods transported in and around Europe.
No small feat when you consider the competition it is going up against.
“More and more transport companies are realising they need to start their electrification journey right now, both with the environment in mind and for competitive reasons to satisfy customer requirements for sustainable shipping. With our wide and deep offering, it is totally feasible for far more transport companies to go electric.”
— Roger Alm, President of Volvo Trucks
Each lorry is optimised for a different task. For example, the Volvo FMX is catered towards construction transport operations.
Volvo Trucks has also shown an interest in hydrogen fuel cell technology — the same technology used in the XCIENT Fuel Cell lorry we’ve just highlighted.
Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry, Electric Lorry: Fleet Electrification Explored
The commercial vehicle market is changing at such a rapid pace. We’ll admit, it can be quite challenging to keep up at times.
Know that your choices will influence everyone in your business, either directly or indirectly.
If you’re a lorry driver, you probably have your fingers crossed that the company you work for does add electric lorries to its fleet, given how comfortable they are and the noticeable difference in power/range.
If you take one thing away from this post, let it be this: emphasising climate goals through electrifying your fleet will benefit all involved.
You’ll generate more interest in your business, for starters.
And secondly, you’ll be doing your part to help cut emissions, all the while saving a hell of a lot of money in standard running costs amongst other incentives.
So what are you waiting for?
Grab yourself an electric lorry catalogue and get browsing.