A new study out of the Georgia Institute of Technology pits diesel versus electric vehicles against each other to find out which is the better option for fleet vehicle owners in suburban and urban areas. Researchers found that, like many complicated things of this nature, it really all depends on where you're driving and what you're doing.
For example, it was determined that "electric urban delivery trucks use about 30 percent less total energy and emit about 40 percent less greenhouse gases than diesel trucks, for about the same total cost." In other words, electric trucks appear to come out on top right? Yes, in an urban setting, especially with a lot of stop-and-go traffic and driving, electric seems to be the way to go. It was found that they are 50 percent more efficient and therefore 20 percent cheaper to run.
However, when you bring those same trucks to a suburban setting, that's when things turn the way of the diesel truck. You see, Georgia Tech points to the fact that electric vehicles rely on stop-and-go driving to allow for the regenerative power feature during braking. That all but disappears when the routes are longer and the speed limits are increased. And that is where diesel becomes the more efficient mode of transportation.
Recently featured here on The Fleetio Blog are some great tips on how to save more money through smarter fuel management software. One additional way to do that is to download an app; many of which are available for free on Verizon Wireless' newly released iPhone. It's just another way that you can better monitor the expenses of your drivers while also keeping up with the maintenance of your fleet, be it electric or diesel.
In other words: When it comes to cost, it all depends. The same goes for emissions, which can rise or fall based on how the electricity is created in your state. If you're charging your electric vehicle in a state where coal is used, the overall emissions rate is higher. Even so, the study states that electric trucks were able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least a third when compared to their diesel counterparts.
Equally up in the air is how electric vehicle technology will improve in the future. Is it worth it to invest in a fleet of these trucks if they're going to be obsolete or a cheaper option is available? According to one professor in the study, "Battery price reductions down the road could have a large effect on the cost-competitiveness of electric trucks, while only diesel fuel prices could have a similarly large effect on the future cost-competitiveness of diesel trucks."
What this all teaches us is that it's very important to keep up with both latest trends for electric trucks—should that be something you wish to pursue—while gauging the range of your business. It's undeniable that electric is the way to go in the city, so it could be worth mix and matching should you expand your business.
About the Author:
Kevin Gannon is a recent college graduate and aspiring journalist who enjoys keeping up with trends in business and technology.