March 2nd 2020

Auke Hoekstra: ‘Electric trucks: economically and environmentally desirable but misunderstood’

In 2017 Auke Hoekstra published a series of blog-posts about e-trucks for the platform ‘Living Lab Smart Charging’ called ‘Electric trucks: economically and environmentally desirable but misunderstood’. We have noticed an increase in attention for this subject and Auke’s visionary approach is still very relevant today and for the near future. We are delighted that we can ‘repost’ his blog as an integral whitepaper.

Download the full document

Read the Outlook ElaadNL published on e-trucks

Researchers from knowledge and innovation center ElaadNL expect a significant growth in the number of electric trucks in national and international logistics from 2025. Because these e-trucks will charge at very high capacities, a new charging network must be installed along European transport corridors, among other places.

Read the Outlook (Dutch)

As the title of the series explained, e-trucks and its purposes were not common knowledge three years ago. The blogs were a response to the IEA report ‘The future of Trucks’ and they were meant as an addendum to that because it lacked information about the possibility of electrifying trucks.

Renewable Energy

The first chapter describes how only the electric drivetrain can provide a real solution because they can be propelled using abundantly available renewable energy from solar and wind. All internal combustion engines rely on either fossil fuel (bad) or biofuels (worse) and acknowledging that makes clear we must focus on the electric drivetrain. An expressive number is that a heavy truck needs to “eat” as much as 375 people.

Economic advantage

The second chapter shows how the lower purchase price, maintenance cost and the three times lower energy use gives the electric motor a huge economic advantage.

Lower price per km

The third chapter focuses on battery prices and how the price-performance has improved by a factor twenty in the last twenty years. This is basically the disruptive innovation that changes everything. The IEA acknowledges this but still disqualifies the battery electric vehicle. After this is remedied and the latest battery predictions are included a heavy truck with a 400 km range shows an appreciably lower price per km in 2025 than a diesel truck.

Charging options

This fourth and last chapter looks at charging options for the electric truck, including hydrogen. The IEA assumptions that electrified roadways must be depreciated in six years and will still be used by diesel trucks are challenged. Straightforward calculations show that both heavy duty fast chargers and electrified roadways have a very low cost per kWh and km.