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Long-Haul EVs

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A total of 50 Class 8 Tesla Semi trucks will operate out of PepsiCo’s manufacturing and distribution facility in California. Photo PepsiCo Beverages North America

A concern for the environment, coupled with government incentives, is helping businesses transition to all-electric Class 8 trucks.

A growing number of North American businesses have started investing in all-electric Class 8 vehicles. PepsiCo Beverages North America recently announced the expansion of its electric-powered fleet across California. In the next several months, 50 Class 8 Tesla Semi trucks will operate out of PepsiCo’s manufacturing and distribution facility in Fresno, California, along with a number of other electric vans.

Charging a total of 50 electric trucks is no easy task. According to the company, their Fresno facility has eight 750-kilowatt Tesla chargers and two Tesla Megapack Battery Energy Storage Systems installed onsite to power the electric Semis.

PepsiCo took delivery of their first all-electric Tesla Semi trucks back in 2022, and has been using them for a number of applications. The Semis are deployed to run two different types of routes. First, they’re used for long-haul routes that transport between 400 and 830 kms per run, with a gross vehicle weight plus load of up to 82,000 lbs. (37,300 kg).

Second, they’re used for 18 different delivery routes where the trucks cover less than 120 km per day, hauling a diminishing load that leaves nearly full and lightens throughout the day as deliveries are made.

Coca-Cola Canada Bottling has acquired six Volvo VNR Electric trucks as part of a pilot program. Photo Volvo Trucks

Pepsi isn’t the only company looking at electric Class 8 trucks. Their arch rival Coca-Cola is also getting into electric Class 8 trucks too. Last year, Volvo Trucks North America announced that Coca-Cola Canada Bottling is acquiring six Volvo VNR Electric trucks, as part of a pilot program to service their customer delivery routes throughout the Greater Montreal Area.

The trucks can go up to 440 km on a single charge, and make several daily round trips of 150 km from the company’s distribution centre in Montreal to customer locations in the area. To keep the trucks moving, Coke installed three 150 kW DC chargers with nine dispensers at its Montreal distribution centre.

Another big company investing in all-electric Class 8 trucks is Walmart Canada. Late last year, Walmart took delivery of three Freightliner eCascadia trucks, which operate out of the retailer’s Surrey, B.C. distribution centre, which according to Walmart was designed as a hub for their alternatively-powered vehicles.

The eCascadia can travel approximately 400 kms on a full charge, has a maximum gross combined weight of 82,000 lbs. (37,300 kg), and according to Walmart, these trucks are used to travel approximately 110,000 kms annually.

Expended availability

A growing number of truck manufacturers are getting into the all-electric Class 8 end of the industry, including Canada’s own Lion Electric. The Quebec-based manufacturer makes a variety of all-electric trucks, including the Lion8 Tractor, which boasts a range of 443 km, and a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 127,000 lbs. (57,606 kg).

The Quebec-based manufacturer makes a variety of all-electric trucks, including the Lion8 Tractor, which boasts a range of 443 km, and a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 127,000 lbs. (57,606 kg).

Environmental benefits

Walmart’s Freightliner eCascadia trucks operate out of their Surrey, B.C. distribution centre.

Most of the companies that have announced an investment in Class 8 trucks stress the point that they’re doing so in order to benefit the environment. “Putting our first electric semi-trucks on the road in British Columbia is an important milestone in our regenerative efforts as we do our part to reduce Walmart Canada’s carbon footprint,” said Aaron Ritter, Walmart’s Director of Transportation. “The introduction of three electric semi-trucks at our Surrey distribution centre is just the first step towards our ambition of a 100% alternatively powered fleet and we look forward to continuing our journey.”

Government incentives

Some of the companies mentioned above have also explained that their investment makes sense because government incentives have made the upfront costs more manageable.

For instance, PepsiCo noted that the expansion of their electric fleet, “is supported by a grant provided by the California Air Resources Board, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, and the California Energy Commission as part of their California Climate Investments.”

On this side of the border, in order to encourage the adoption of medium- and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles (including Class 8 trucks) by Canadian businesses, the Government of Canada launched the Incentives for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero-Emission Vehicles (iMHZEV) Program in July 2022. The iMHZEV Program can provide incentives of up to $200,000, which goes a long way to reducing upfront costs for Canadian businesses.

 

Categories : Editorial, Fleet
Tags : EV, Management

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