The trucking industry needs to go green. Are electric trucks the answer?
In 2019, medium- and heavy-duty trucks accounted for about a quarter of U.S. transportation emissions while representing less than 4% of vehicles on the road, according to the U.S. EPA.
It is clear the trucking industry must decarbonize in order for the transportation sector, and the economy as a whole, to reach net-zero emissions, but which emerging technologies will move freight vehicles into climate-friendly territory is not yet clear, though electric is making great strides.
Climate Now spoke with the North American Council for Freight Efficiency’s (NACFE) Executive Director Mike Roeth and Director of Emerging Technologies Rick Mihelic, as well as former RMI Senior Associate for Carbon-Free Mobility’s Jessie Lund (now at CALSTART), about why electric trucks are leading the carbon-free trucking game.
2:03 What is NACFE?
4:20 Current state of the trucking industry
9:35 Technologies for decarbonizing trucking
15:25 Are hydrogen fuel cell vehicles scalable?
17: 20 Understanding total cost of ownership (TCO) for trucks – traditional, electric, hydrogen
24:13 Fueling the 3-way “horse race”: infrastructural requirements for electric, gas, and hydrogen trucks
27:43 NACFE tested 13 real electric trucks on real roads with real drivers: here’s what they found.
31:04 The state of the electric trucking market today
Lead Project Manager, Trucking and Off-Road at CALSTART
At the time of this interview, Jessie Lund was a Senior Associate with Rocky Mountain Institute’s Carbon-Free Mobility Program. She has since joined CALSTART as a Trucking and Off-Road Lead Project Manager. Previously, Jessie was an Electric Truck Program Manager for the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE).
North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) Executive Director
Mike Roeth is the Executive Director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) and the trucking lead for the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). He has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for over 35 years and specializes in brokering green truck collaborative technologies into the real world at scale.
North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) Director of Emerging Technologies
Rick Mihelic is the Director of Emerging Technologies at the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) and the President of Mihelic Vehicle Consulting LLC. Rick assisted in the development of the Peterbilt/Cummins DOE SuperTruck and the compliance systems for the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations. He was awarded the prestigious SAE L. Ray Buckendale Award in 2016 and SAE Crawford award in 2020.
James Lawler is the founder of Climate Now. James started Climate Now as a way to learn about climate change and our energy system. Climate Now’s mission is to distill and communicate the science of our changing climate, the technologies that could help us avoid a climate crisis, and the economic and policy pathways to achieve net zero emissions globally. James is also the founder of Osmosis Films, a creative studio.
Darren Hau is a Senior Charging Manager at Cruise, focused on optimizing and deploying the infrastructure required to electrify autonomous vehicle fleets. He previously worked at Tesla, where he helped design the V3 Supercharger, and co-founded Dragonfly Systems, a solar power electronics company that was acquired by SunPower. He is the inventor of several U.S. patents and a Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient. Darren holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.