Electric Semi Trucks: Taking Steps Toward a Zero-Emission Future for the Trucking Industry

December 1, 2021

Diesel fuel has long been the primary fuel choice for the trucking industry due to its accessibility and the reliance that mature trucks have on it. However, as we continue to advance in electric-vehicle technology, we can look forward to the days where the commercial trucking industry will have zero emissions. 

While electric vehicles have been in the making for some time now, greater interest was sparked with the rollout and popularity of the Telsa electric vehicles. The company unveiled the concept of its fully electric semi-truck in November 2017, announcing that production would begin in 2023. Other companies pursuing electric semi-trucks are; Freightliner, Peterbilt, Kenworth, Nikola, Volvo and Cummins. 

There have been government incentives and new regulations, particularly in California, that are playing a significant role in jump-starting the development of the commercial vehicle market. This makes it increasingly likely that the future of trucking will be powered by electric vehicles.


The benefits of electric semi-trucks

Electric semi-trucks have many benefits for our environment because they will no longer emit pollutants such as carbon dioxide. 

They are also good for the health of long-haul truck drivers for a few reasons. They’re much quieter and easier on drivers’ nerves and ears, and there are no tail-pipe emissions. Since trucking rights say that drivers have the right to safe working conditions, switching to electric vehicles would help ensure drivers’ long-term health and wellness.

Due to the presence of an electric motor, there will be less maintenance required, resulting in substantial savings in operating costs. 


Companies that have committed to electric semi-trucks

Walmart, one of the world’s largest retailers, announced in September 2020 that its goal is to only have electric semi-trucks on the road by 2040, as well as electrify all its other remaining vehicles. 

In addition to the corporation’s global sustainability goal, Walmart Canada announced it was tripling its reservations of the battery-electric Tesla Semi to a total of 130 trucks.

Walmart Canada also went on to state that it has committed to converting 20% of its fleet to electric power by the end of 2022 and aims to power its fleet using 100% alternative energy by 2028.


Another green alternative: hydrogen fuel technology 

Many truck manufacturers and their partner suppliers have continued to develop battery-electric components and models, with many of them investing a lot of resources into advancing hydrogen fuel technology. 

Hydrogen fuel is a greener alternative to diesel-powered trucks. It weighs much less than electric batteries, making it much more efficient for carrying heavy cargo. When hydrogen burns, it leaves only water behind — no carbon dioxide or other more harmful greenhouse gases. Fuel cells that generate electricity from hydrogen can be deployed in high-energy-intensity applications, such as trucking. 

A fuel cell that uses hydrogen and oxygen can generate energy that can be used to power vehicles while only producing water and without exhausting fumes, making it a suitable alternative to traditional fuel.


Why diesel fuel isn’t going anywhere - for now 

While there are hopes for electric or even hydrogen-powered semi-trucks to make their way into every fleet, diesel fuel isn’t expected to disappear too soon. A recurring issue with electric semi-trucks is battery life and weight. Batteries that are too heavy for long-haul freight are just another added cost to trucking companies and are not worth the switch to electric semi-trucks. 

You also have to think about trucks that are operating in remote areas that may not have access to a charging station. There have been discussions about adding solar panels to the Tesla Semi to combat this issue, but it’s too early to say whether that will charge the battery substantially. 


How you can finance an electric semi-truck 

When the time comes to make the switch to electric semi-trucks, there will likely be a greater purchase price which means your trucking company will need to finance its vehicles. 

Blue Capital Equipment Finance is a nationwide finance brokerage that has years of experience helping businesses grow with equipment financing and commercial truck financing. We are your one-stop shop as we can help you locate semi-trucks through our established network of truck dealers, find used trucks for sale, or help you finance a brand new truck. 

We offer many financial services and can help you easily get approved with zero-down payment options and low-interest rates. We have multiple leasing options and can help you find the right loan for your business so that you don’t have to let old, and unreliable semi-trucks slow you down.