The UK is set to experience an electric vehicle revolution. Hybrid and electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular as a feasible everyday mode of transport – including in the logistics industry. Not only does an electric lorry and hybrid lorry offer a clean and quiet drive but they help reform the industry’s relationship with the environment, roadside air quality and international freight costs. With the government funding the transition to zero-emission road freight with £20 million, in this article, we will discuss the many benefits of switching to hybrid and electric vehicles.
Hybrid vehicles use a combination of electricity with a conventional fuel engine. For example, a hybrid lorry will run on a diesel or petrol engine along with an electric motor. The two together work to decrease fuel consumption and reduce harmful emissions.
However, this type of vehicle comes in two different versions:
Electric vehicles run solely on electric energy stored in a battery. They operate by plugging into a charge point and using electricity from the grid. The electricity is then stored in rechargeable batteries that power an electric motor to turn the wheels. An electric lorry can accelerate faster than lorries with standard fuel engines.
Perhaps one of the main benefits of an electric HGV is its improved impact on the environment. You won’t see a tailpipe on an electric vehicle since there are no direct emissions from an electric motor (although any pollution caused during the generation of the electricity used should be considered). Generally speaking, electric vehicles deliver us with cleaner streets, therefore making our towns and cities a better place to be for people. Commercial vehicles that can deliver zero carbon emissions over their lifespan are an investment worth making to protect the future of our world. This combined with teaching commercial drivers about fuel-efficient driving practices, will help keep carbon footprint as low as possible.
The green credentials of a hybrid vehicle depend on how much of the trip is driven on electric miles as well as the way in which the vehicle is charged. Therefore, it’s essential for commercial drivers’ management to think about how their electricity is produced. Where it is possible to choose a renewable form of energy, this will clearly help to reduce emissions as a consequence of driving to a minimum. But there is more to the life cycle of a vehicle than the time that it spends with HGV drivers. Whilst it’s true they produce fewer emissions when they’re being operated, often it’s forgotten just how much energy and resources go into making them before they even hit the road – this process creates emissions too. So, hitting the ultimate goal of net-zero currently remains very challenging – but the use of electric vehicles clearly has the potential to make a positive contribution to the cause.
The day-to-day expense of running an electric lorry is lower compared to its diesel equivalent, as you’re not paying for petrol or diesel to keep your HGV running. Although a hybrid lorry runs partly on standard fuel as well, you can still save money on fuel compared to an HGV running solely on diesel or petrol. However, it’s important to note that the initial purchase price of such a vehicle is likely to be higher than their petrol or diesel equivalent counterpart. Therefore, you need to look at the bigger picture and think about the full lifetime value.
Equally, the cost of maintenance is also less than a diesel engine-driven lorry. Volvo determined that its electric trucks can be multiple times more efficient than diesel equivalents moving the same freight. Therefore, an electric and hybrid HGVs could potentially be a more cost-effective form of transport. This is partly due to its regenerative braking – rotating an electric motor backwards to perform as a generator and produce charge when not accelerating. This brings back electric power and slows the vehicle, so the system brakes are operated less, which in turn reduces maintenance costs.
Noise pollution has come to be a big concern, particularly in urban areas. Electric and hybrid vehicles are renowned for being a lot quieter. Such vehicles could help operators like supermarkets, when they’re making deliveries. Lower levels of noise mean they can operate at times where a diesel truck cannot – this will help such companies save money.
Electric and hybrid lorries could become energy storing units on wheels. In the event of an unforeseen circumstance such as flooding – the large batteries could power local mini-grids to supply vital electrical power to emergency services.
In the past, electric and hybrid vehicles didn’t have the best image – many have had minimal expectations as to how well they operate in comparison to standard engines. However, as more manufacturers have stacked into the market with their own version, the performance levels of these types of vehicles have soared. Electric and hybrid lorries are lighter, and as all their power is produced from a standing start it means they can accelerate faster. Brands like Tesla have done much to improve public perceptions of such vehicles. For example, the Tesla Model S is one of the fastest-accelerating cars on the market, driving 0 – 60mph in just 2.5 seconds. Therefore, there are high hopes for the Tesla electric lorry that is now nearing production phase in Nevada, USA.
It’s safe to say there are many benefits to switching to electric and hybrid HGVs in the commercial driving industry. If you want a chance to be part of an industry that can deliver these positives, we have a range of training to get you there – from getting your licence to optimising the performance of your fleet.
As urban areas struggle with more vehicle congestion, air and noise pollution from said vehicles, plus the increasing transportation needs, this means there is a need to push electric and hybrid vehicles as a solution. With the government also advocating electric vehicles as the go-to option, the logistics industry can make a real difference in creating more environmentally friendly roads. Though, more research is needed for electric and hybrid HGV manufacturing, and the HGV charging infrastructure still needs more work. However, we can hope to see UK roads in an abundance of HGV charging stations in the future. Whilst it may take a little time to get there, as an industry we can undoubtedly look forward to a cleaner and greener future.
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