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Electric HGVs: Are they the future for haulage companies?

Posted 5th March 2024

Electric HGVs: Are they the future for haulage companies?

The adoption of electric vehicles is entering its second phase. Commercial organisations are now starting to look at the long term benefits of EV charging infrastructure and how easy it is to transition from diesel fleets to electric fleets. Preparing for a shift towards commercial electric vehicle charging is now more important than ever. The goal of this article is to shed some light on Electric HGVs as a long term sustainable option for haulage companies looking to invest into their future growth.

The importance of the haulage industry

The haulage industry is the lifeblood of the supply chain. It allows businesses to move goods across the country and to other countries, supplying business customers and consumers with the products they need. The distribution of goods is obviously very important to how we function as society, but the haulage industry faces several challenges, including delays and congestion on the roads, safety risks, and environmental and sustainability concerns. This is why it is so important that the haulage industry begins to look at a transformation towards the use of electric HGVs in the same way that the personal car industry has over the past few years. 

What are the challenges of transitioning to electric HGVs?

There are several challenges facing the haulage industry as it attempts to change the whole infrastructure of vehicles and networks to transform into a sustainable industry that relies on electric HGVs. Only 0.3% of the market currently comprises electric HGVs, which highlights how far there is to go.

 The challenges include: 

A lack of charging infrastructure

The biggest challenge is the lack of charge points that are capable of charging HGVs. As has been seen with the installation of electric charge points and charging management systems for cars across the country, there will need to be a fully thought out plan to allow for a reliable transition for haulage companies to switch to electric HGVs. If there isn’t enough provision of charge points, drivers will struggle to cope with long distance travel as part of daily logistics.

Financial

Currently, electric HGVs are more expensive than diesel HGVs. However, it is expected that with technological improvement such as increased battery capacity and mileage, that electric HGVs will become cost-competitive by 2030. That being said an early investment into eHGVs can see higher efficiency and profit margins for your business with the reduction of fuel costs. Furthermore, there’s a range of Government incentives and grants to help fund the investment of this early adoption to EV fleet infrastructure. You can take a closer look at our EV charging government and grants guide to learn about the different funding options available to you.

It can be challenging to manufacture electric HGVs

The weight and complexity of components that make up Heavy Goods Vehicles means manufacturing can be challenging and time consuming. Some HGVs can weigh as much as 18 tonnes. Fortunately a range of level 3 EV charging stations are now available to provide powerful fast charging to larger vehicles like trucks.

What is the future of electric HGVs?

There is a huge focus and investment in charging infrastructure. Alongside this, as EV technology continues to improve eHGVs will only get better. Battery life will increase along with charging speeds. Manufacturing will become faster, more advanced and streamlined. As electric HGVs become more common over the next decade, the haulage industry will become more sustainable whilst offering the potential for organisations to reduce costs and increase their bottom lines.

In November 2021, the government confirmed its intention to ban the sale of any new HGVs that were non-zero emission, for those vehicles that weigh under or equal to 26 tonnes. This is to come in place by 2035, and all new HGVs sold are to be fully zero emission at the exhaust by 2040. 

Why haulage companies should switch to electric HGVs

There are a few reasons why the haulage industry should be looking to take charge of the transformation of the industry and switch to electric HGVs as soon as possible. When looking at the global environment and the push from governments to reduce carbon emissions and to live a more sustainable life, you can see the array of benefits that electric HGVs offer. 

Lower costs

Although electric HGVs are more costly right now, over time, the costs will reduce, and the use of electric HGVs will cost less than buying and operating diesel HGVs. Electric trucks also require less maintenance, which could provide a significant cost saving for companies. 

Lower emissions

Electric HGVs produce zero emissions, which immediately has a positive impact on improving air quality. Energy efficient trucks  provide a much more sustainable and greener future for the haulage industry.

Reduced noise 

Reduced noise is a win win. The journey for drivers and passengers will also improve, with electric vehicles producing much smoother and quiet engines. Reduced noise levels for vehicles within the haulage industry will also lead to a better quality of life for those living in urban areas close to busy transport routes. 

Gain a competitive advantage

Making the switch to electric HGVs now will help in maintaining a competitive advantage over those in the industry who stick with traditional HGVs for as long as possible. As the technology behind sustainable transportation solutions rapidly improves, along with government intervention (such as incentives, grants and emissions targets), those who make the leap first are more likely to attract and retain clients who are looking for forward thinking partners. 

Legal compliance

There are a range of government objectives when it comes to sustainability goals. The mass implementation of electric charge point networks that will help meet long-term targets for zero emission vehicles across the board. Any legislation change like this will obviously have a massive impact on businesses operating heavy goods so it makes sense to get ahead of legislation wherever possible.

ElectrAssure offers a full A-Z solution for fleet managers looking to roll out EV Fleets. ElectrAssure can help with everything from EV infrastructure surveys to design and charging installation alongside ongoing maintenance. As the UK moves towards a situation where the vast majority of vehicles on the road are  becoming electric, there is a requirement to provide effective charging solutions to ensure minimal downtime. As with every other vehicle type, the HGV landscape will be transformed by electrification, it’s important for haulage companies to stay ahead of the curve. ElectrAssure can help make this as smooth a process as possible.

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