In the HGV world, September is a really exciting time. There was news about new electric postal vans, and now there has been an announcement from Tesla, the premier electric car manufacturer, of an electric HGV. Tesla is renowned for being on the cutting edge and producing high-end, beautiful cars, so it is very exciting to see them moving into the HGV industry. Dave Regan from, hgvtrainingcentre.co.uk welcomes this news, “We have all been waiting a very long time for electric HGVs, and with a future diesel ban threat hanging over our heads, we hope that electric HGVs can change the current haulage industry”.
Electric HGV’s From Tesla
In late August it was confirmed that Tesla would be revealing its new all-electric HGV. The initial HGV is going to have a 200-300 mile real-world range, with subsequent models having 1000 mileage on a single charge. Based on our understanding, it appears that the early models will come from their Fremont, California manufacturing facility and will be featuring a ‘day cab’ without a sleeper section. According to sources close to Tesla, they are planning on adding the feature when they release longer distance models.
Earlier this year, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, unveiled the first photos of the new all-electric Tesla, with a glowing EV lorry displayed in a darkened image with not much more than the LED lights of the lorry piercing through the darkness. It was the first confirmation coming from Tesla that that company is aiming for the commercial market, and that time is nearly here. The image that was released showed a design that was much curvier that a majority of HGVs of similar size, with the goal being to increase efficiency and boost aerodynamics. The vehicle was described by Musch as being a real ‘spy’ to drive. However, we doubt it is going to to go as fast as the 0-63 mph times that was quoted previously! From what we were able to gather, Tesla’s intention is to match the torque and range of traditional diesel HGV tractors, which does seem quite ambitious, given what we know about the range of the electric car in comparison to conventional engine cars. With all of this in mind, we eagerly await the big day.
Beaten To The Punch By Cummins
However, the big reveal from Tesla has been slightly overshadowed by Cummins, which just released its electric heavy duty HGV ahead of Tesla. Cummins is among the leading manufacturers of natural gas and diesel commercial vehicle engines. So it wasn’t surprising that on the 29th of August the company unveiled its heavy-duty class 7 truck cab. The model comes with a 140 kWh advanced battery pack and will be on sale separately in 2019 for commercial HGV and bus fleets. This 18,000-pound cab (affectionally referred to as AEOS in reference to one of the winged horses that drove Helios’ chariot across the sky) is just currently just a demonstration model. It is fully operational though, and can easily haul a 22-tonne trailer. The range of the Cummins model is 100 miles, which right away puts it behind Tesla. However, it is targeting urban delivery vehicles instead of long-range haulage ones. It comes with a one hour charge time, and the company has announced already that manufacturing for the real model will start in 2019, which means that electric HGVs being widely available, is just 18 months away.
This is exciting news about these recent developments but there are still a few discussion points to consider. Will electric HGVs be sustainable at this level, or will additional work need to be done in order to increase their range and refine them before commercial haulage organisations are able to use them?