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How Much Will it Cost to Fill an Electric Truck's 'Tank'?

There's been a lot of focus on green technology in the past decade, and that's translated to electric trucks over the past year. More and more companies are experimenting with electric semi-trucks that can run by battery, and, aside from the environmentally friendly impact of switching from diesel, these companies are also forecasting the lower costs of energy for truck drivers. While even the experts can't predict how the math will work out in the end, here are two clear conclusions to cut through both the hype and nay-saying:

The fuel costs per mile will almost certainly be lower.

Currently, diesel prices are approximately $2.50 throughout the country, though this will go up and down throughout the seasons. For 100,000 annual miles at a relatively common six miles per gallon of fuel, fuel costs come out to a little more than $38,000.

With electricity, however, the units are kilowatt hours (kWh) instead of gallons. Depending on the make and model of the truck you have now compared to a future electric truck you might get later, and with a lot of inefficiencies in diesel motors taken into consideration, a 'gallon' of performance takes around 18 kWh. Depending on where you fuel up and how much a kilowatt hour of electricity costs, you would be looking at approximately $2.00 a 'gallon.' That 20% savings in fuel costs certainly adds up.

But fuel is not the only expense that will be changing.

Fuel has to be stored, and while diesel comes with its own storage costs in terms of weight and dragging down your average miles per gallon, electric trucks come with a brand new difficulty: the electricity has to be stored in a battery, and these batteries will be priced according to units of kilowatt hours. For example, each 'gallon' of electricity needs 18 kWh worth of storage and Tesla estimates that their new batteries will cost $190 per each kilowatt hour. That's pretty low for industry standards, and even then having the hardware to store that 'gallon' will cost $3,420. A more realistically sized battery that can hold enough electricity to compare to a semi truck will cost over $100,000.

The ongoing advancements and development of greener semi-trucks will impact the industry, and more and more efficient parts are already widely accessible on the market. But electric trucks aren't necessarily viable in the immediate future, and it's important to know the hang-ups behind the hype. Go to Carolina International for more semi-truck and technology news.


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