By Jeff Tolnar Chief Commercial Officer, Greenlots
At-home delivery services, which have been on the rise for years, are experiencing a sharp increase in demand driven by recent events. In the past weeks, grocery delivery apps have seen a record number of downloads, and Amazon announced it’s looking to hire 100,000 new workers. With millions of people stuck at home, these trucking and logistics workers are now more essential than ever. While the positive contribution the goods movement makes to society has never been greater, the negative impacts heavy-duty trucks have on the environment and driver health must not be neglected.
The commercial sector is already making moves to transition fleets in order to reach environmental goals with the eventual goal of decreasing total cost of ownership. Amazon, PepsiCo and Goodwill recently purchased EV fleets which lowers their greenhouse gas emissions. There are also a growing number of private-public partnerships pushing the industry to new levels of EV adoption. For example, the Volvo LIGHTS Project, that Greenlots is a key partner in facilitating, demonstrates the ability of heavy-duty electric trucks to reliably move freight, charge affordably and sustainably in high-demand areas — in this case, Southern California.
The public and non-profit sectors are also supporting electric trucking in big ways. The US Department of Energy, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Environmental Defense Fund have all officially recommended fleet owners explore the transition to EV trucking for their environmental benefits. States are stepping up to incentivizing the transition as well. California has two grant programs to support hybrid and electric trucks and busses (Carl Moyer Grant and HVIP).
Projects like these don’t only support environmental initiatives, they create jobs and support a clean economic future as well. Delivery truck drivers, vehicle technicians, and others will move from high-carbon-footprint jobs to low-carbon-footprint jobs. As the demand for electric vehicles grows, so will the opportunity to create new roles as more manufacturing plants open to meet the new demand for electric trucks and batteries. In 2018 alone, Tesla reported creating more than 50,000 green jobs in California and contributed more than $5 billion to the local economy.
In addition to supporting substantial job growth, a recent McKinsey report predicts companies can save 15% – 25% by owning an electric fleet when compared to their Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) counterparts. The huge possibilities for the EV fleet industry don’t end there: the fleet-charging services market is predicted to be worth $15 billion per year by 2030, with fleets projected to include as many as 8 million EVs.
Furthermore, route optimization technology, a quieter ride, a truck without fossil fuels or exhaust fumes, and lower maintenance costs means a happier and healthier driving experience. Electric trucks’ quiet engines mean deliveries can be made 24/7 for a knock-on impact of less environmental and noise pollution on the roads during the day. The impact is clear: more electric trucks result in cleaner air for truck drivers to breathe and long-term benefits to their health. Communities, especially those near high-truck-traffic areas like cargo ports, will reap the same health benefits. EVs also lead to lower long-term maintenance costs for Fleet operators which improves the economics of deliveries.
While current events have increased our reliance on delivered goods, our current reality presents an opportunity for us to appreciate the significance of trucking and logistics in our society today. Trucking and logistics industries are working around the clock to hire more people and get more trucks on the road. We hope the major players in this space explore electric vehicle purchases as they grow. The long-term health of our planet, economy, and heroes depend on it.