Big changes are expected in the future for the semi-truck industry. It is expected that by the year 2020, the industry will see the introduction of self-driving, electric trucks. According to research by Morgan Stanley, despite the barriers presented there are strong economic and regulatory forces pushing toward autonomous trucks. The debut of these trucks is expected around the same time as the new emission and fuel economy regulations gain magnitude. Thus far, many companies within the industry have already started to develop electric trucks.
The current hurdles to overcome include the battery size and cost. It is expected that just one battery will cost $75,000, which is equivalent to the cost of an entire tractor. The distance an electric truck will be able to cover between charges is another issue. A fully charged truck that can travel 125 miles between charges, will only cover one-third of the range that a standard truck would cover. Possible solutions include a range extender, battery swaps at stops, or possibly a gas-electric hybrid as proposed by Nikola Motors.
Despite the hurdles to overcome, the cost savings associated with electric trucks are expected to be significant. Operating electric trucks is expected to be 75% cheaper than a traditional semi-truck. The savings from fuel and maintenance are expected to compensate for the initial costs. For more updates on the semi-truck industry, be sure to follow Michigan Truck And Equipment Sales.