UPS is already operating electric vehicles as part of its large alternative fuels fleet. Photo:...

UPS is already operating electric vehicles as part of its large alternative fuels fleet. Photo: UPS

The North American Council for Freight Efficiency is expanding its research and educational roles in the trucking industry by adding new guidance reports to its list of resources available for fuel-focused fleets. And no subject is more fraught with confusion than commercial battery electric vehicles, which is why NACFE chose this topic for its first report.

“Battery electric vehicles for commercial applications are here today, but there are arguments for and against further development in that market. Arguments center on weight, technology, cost, and charging/electric grid issues,” said Bill Brentar, senior director of maintenance and engineering, UPS Corporate Automotive Engineering, at a NACFE press conference this week.

“The purpose of this guidance report — the first such report from NACFE — is to bring some clarity and insights into the complex topic of the viability of commercial battery electric vehicles,” said Mike Roeth, executive director of NAFCE.

The report identifies 10 common arguments for and against electric Class 3 through 8 commercial battery electric vehicles and evaluates those positions to assess the viability for battery electric trucks in the North American market. NACFE's conclusions are presented in parity charts that show the time frame with which electric trucks reach parity with diesel or gasoline trucks in areas that buyers care about — cost, range, maintenance, etc.

According to Rick Mihelic, director of Future Technologies Studies for NACFE, the study found that “CBEVs and diesel engines are at different points on their innovation S-curves, but CBEVs have a greater potential for additional innovation.”

The report found that, “CBEVs are not the choice for every application or market, yet they will likely have an increasing role in the commercial vehicle market and in freight transportation. Urban delivery Classes 3 through 6 will likely be the early adopters,” Mihelic noted.

“There are many predictions about electrification,” added Julie Furber, executive director, electrified power, Cummins. “The reality is for the foreseeable future, we will need a range of power solutions to provide fleets with the best opportunity for meeting their needs. NACFE sheds light on many of the complexities that will impact the rate of electrified power adoption in commercial trucks.”

The report includes a robust, current, relevant bibliography of 204 CBEV references and 85 graphics, of which 31 are new and can be accessed at The organization will charge a fee for the full, 100-plus-page report, but an executive summary and various infographics are available free.

NACFE is planning another Guidance Report on medium-duty battery electric trucks, which will be released this fall.

New Report Digs Into Battery-Electric Commercial Trucks
New Report Digs Into Battery-Electric Commercial Trucks

Related: SAE Issues Charging RPs for Electric Vehicles

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