Electric Vehicles in the Supply Chain
- Published: 28 Apr 2017
Traditional electric vehicles
Before driverless trucks are commonplace, we will likely see the rise of electric trucks, which may cut fuel cost in half. The Tesla Semi was announced to be unveiled this September. Predictions hold that the Tesla Semi will be a short-range truck with a range of 321-482 km (200-300 miles). Morgan Stanley, a global financial services firm, devised a leasing model for trucking carriers. Morgan Stanley estimates that a carrier spends $0.50 per mile of fuel and if Tesla charges $0.25 per mile to lease the battery out, that would save 50% of the fuel cost for a carrier (fuel cost is 35% of total costs).
The Tesla Semi will likely be a traditional electric vehicle, just like Tesla’s other vehicles. This is to say that you will charge your car by plugging your car directly into an outlet that will send an electrical current into your vehicle’s battery. Other major car manufacturers such as Toyota and Hyundai are instead opting for electric vehicles powered by hydrogen.
Hydrogen powered electric vehicles
Another electric truck -- though hydrogen-powered -- that looks too good to be true is Nikola Motor Company’s Nikola One. Compared to diesel trucks, the One boasts more horsepower, torque, and range and MPG, while weighing less. What is even more promising is that the Nikola Motor Company plans to lease their trucks for $5,000-$7,000 USD a month, with some plans offering unlimited fuel and free maintenance. If all of this is to be believed, the One can be a great middle-ground for companies that are not willing to invest wholly into autonomous vehicle technology, which may not be as imminent as it seems, despite Elon Musk's claims that Tesla vehicles will be fully autonomous by 2018.
With the superior range and shorter refuelling times compared to traditional electric vehicles, hydrogen-powered vehicles are ostensibly the better choice overall. Many dispute the viability of hydrogen-powered vehicles, but with most of the major car manufacturers backing it, it may be viable in the future. As it stands, traditional electric vehicles like Tesla’s are the easiest to implement, as the technology and infrastructure is readily available and in place today. Accordingly, hydrogen-powered electric cars are well behind traditional electrical cars in terms of market share and this alone may doom the technology.
Hydrogen-powered vehicles, however, still have a long way to go in terms of public support, as there are substantially more naysayers than supporters, perhaps because of how few hydrogen-powered vehicles are on the road. Hydrogen fueling stations will need to be installed at major fuel stations, but to make this a worthwhile investment for major fuel companies, there needs to be a significant amount of hydrogen-powered electric vehicles. To illustrate this point, there are approximately 15,819 electric charging stations in the United States and only 34 hydrogen stations, according to the US Department of Energy.
All is not lost, though: the Nikola Motor Company plans to build over 300 hydrogen stations so that their trucks can more easily travel across the US. This does, unfortunately, leave out Canada.
Gas and diesel vehicles will be phased out in the coming decades and electric vehicles will become the norm. Both models of the electric car may coexist or one may win out, much like the video format wars of the past (Betamax vs VHS and HD-DVD vs BluRay). Whether one or the other prevails does not matter: what matters is the eventual replacement of fossil fuels with electrical current and the impact of this on the supply chain.
Enlist ADLI Logistics to manage your freight shipping, warehousing, and distribution needs. For more information fill out our contact form or call 1-877-363-7281.