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Why commercial transportation is moving toward electrification

It’s easy to get caught up in extreme electrification rhetoric; to see it as a threat to the status quo. In the commercial world, it’s just business. The fact is that the cost parity between electrification and diesel heavy-duty trucks, in certain applications, is quickly becoming a reality. In states with progressive environmental regulations focused on reducing emissions (we’re all looking at you, California), the time for electric vehicle investment isn’t just an environmental move, it’s a business move. 

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Consider New Legend Inc., a fleet that hauls loads to more than 30 cities in 12 western states with a lineup of more than 1,000 tractors. The California-based fleet ordered 50 Freightliner eCascadia battery electric trucks in May with the aim of transitioning all of its local routes to electric trucks by 2023. These routes tend to run 100 to 150 miles in range, which are a perfect fit for the eCascadia’s anticipated fully charged range of approximately 250 miles. Future customer expectations are a big reason Legend invested in a big way so early.

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“Regulation is regulation, but we want to make sure that we stay on top of truck technology for the future of transportation,” said Robert Moffit, executive vice president, New Legend Inc. “If things do move toward being more electric and we have freight contracts, we want to make sure we have green energy transportation options for our customers.”

In an interview with our sister publication, Fleet Equipment, Moffit touched on everything from expected electric truck operation to service demands and life cycles. 

“We’re looking at 10 years with the eCascadia,” Moffit said. That’s a major change compared to Legend’s current approximately three-year diesel lifecycle. “There are a lot of parts and service needs related to our diesel trucks. The electric powertrain on the eCascadia won’t have as much wear and tear compared to diesel trucks.”

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While it’s still early in commercial electric vehicle development, the overall expectation is that electric truck service demands will be much lower than that of their diesel counterparts, though they come with their own specific service and technician training needs.

For the latest on what we know about electric truck operation, expected service needs and operational details, click here to watch a previously recorded webinar with Freightliner’s eMobility team about their experiences with their electric truck pilot programs. Then be sure to head over to Fleet Equipment to read more about Legend’s electric truck investment and where the fleet will take the technology in the future

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