Are Electric Auto Transport Trucks Feasible?
The search for an alternative fuel source, and getting away from fossil fuels, is an integral part of the world today. As the climate continues to change and humanity comes to terms with the environmental damage fossil fuels cause, alternative fuels still dominate the conversation. What better way to stop pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than to change what our cars run on?
Well, it’s a great idea in theory, but what about something like electric auto transport trucks? What about other industries that rely on overland freight trucking?
While alternative fuels are promising for commercial vehicles, are electric trucks even feasible? Some, such as the legendary Bill Gates, aren’t so sure.
In this blog post we’re going to talk about some of the pros and cons of electric auto transport trucks, and how that might impact the industry as a whole.
Why we Need Alternative Energies
Right now, there aren’t any electric auto transport trucks on the market. The technology for long-haul electric trucks just isn’t there right now, and some are wondering if it ever will be at all. Bill Gates in particular is skeptical of the technology, though he does admit that long-haul trucking would be well-suited for other types of fuels.
The goal is to get away from fossil fuel entirely. That much is absolutely clear. As a society, the transition away from fossil fuels is a driving force in tech and other sectors. As more and more trucks start becoming more like computers with wheels, the desire to cut out the last vestiges of internal combustion is clear.
We’ve talked a lot about alternative energies on this blog in the past. We’ve explored hydrogen, solar power, electric vehicles, and much more.
Alternative energies allow us to move away from polluting fuels and clean up our transportation infrastructure, which would be a massive boon to the environment. Not to mention jobs – as we learn more about alternative energies, more and more opportunities for positions working at a company that specializes in or provides alternative energy open up. Not to mention the fact that, if everyone got behind these new sources of energy, we could phase out fossil fuels quite quickly.
The downsides to electric auto transport trucks
Now, there are lots of issues with just transforming our entire energy sector and getting it off fossil fuels. First off, it’s incredibly expensive. It’d cost a lot of jobs, but would open up a lot of new ones.
But we want to be a bit more specific. What are the downsides of an all-electric auto transport truck?
Well, electricity – as great as it is – does have disadvantages, especially when it comes to being a source of energy for a car or truck. Weight plays the biggest issue, and this is true for a lot of transportation sectors, not just auto transport. The heavier the truck and cargo, the more electric batteries it’ll take to move it at highway speeds. A Tesla car doesn’t need a big battery, but then again, a Tesla car isn’t hauling nine of its brethren around, either.
So this is the biggest issue, and probably the biggest reason why electric auto transport trucks will never see the light of day. There would have to be major advancements in battery technology for an electric auto transport truck to even stand a chance, let alone be the one to beat out the rest.
What Other Alternatives Are Out There?
One alternative energy source that may just make an impact in the long-haul trucking industry is hydrogen.
Hydrogen is a great alternative fuel…but it may not be great for your everyday driver. Let’s face it, the U.S. infrastructure is rapidly diversifying, with most new growth being in the electric sector. More and more recharging stations are popping up all across the country thanks mainly to Tesla’s recent dominance of the electric vehicle market.
But let’s not forget that Tesla is far from the only electric vehicle on the market. More and more automakers are putting out electric vehicles, and Ford is still looking into electric trucks. So there’s plenty of reasons for personal cars to have that kind of infrastructure.
Hydrogen fuel cell technology would require a different kind of infrastructure, one that is tailored to hydrogen and not electricity. Essentially, refueling stations would need to be modified to provide hydrogen; you don’t have to do that with electric cars. You just need to add some charging ports at places where people park long-term, and that’s something that’s already a thing.
But with hydrogen, the redesign of the fueling infrastructure would be much better suited to the long-haul trucking industry than personal use.
I’m not a scientist, but I do know that hydrogen provides more oomph than electricity. This is important because electric trucks just won’t have the ability to go as fast or as far on a charge as they could with hydrogen.
Transport trucks are heavy. Electric auto transport trucks would be even heavier, and heavier still with a full load of cars. Because of the added weight, an electric battery would be hard-pressed to provide the power necessary to move the truck at highway speeds.
This is the biggest downside with electric transport trucks. Hydrogen, however, wouldn’t have this problem. It would provide the energy necessary to move such heavy equipment long distances at highway speeds. It’s clean (heck, it’s exhaust is water!), it’s efficient, and it’s pretty abundant.
Of course, hydrogen fuel cell technology is still in its infancy, for the most part. The technology really has only been commercially viable for about the last decade. Even then though, it hasn’t seen much results, mostly because electric cars have taken a foothold in the marketplace.
But where they haven’t is in the long-haul logistics sector, and that may be a place where hydrogen can truly make its mark.
How the Industry May Adjust to Changes in Fuel Types
The biggest issue with hydrogen is the lack of infrastructure. The idea of hydrogen fuel cells is fairly old, about a decade, and progress has been made on expanding the refueling infrastructure. But that’s the biggest snag right now – making sure trucks stay fueled up.
Right now, most of the hydrogen pumping stations are located in California. While this isn’t surprising, given the state’s track record on clean energy, it’s not the entire country, either. Trucks that run exclusively on hydrogen are stuck traveling corridors where hydrogen fuel stations exist, and there aren’t a lot of them right now.
If that were to change, though, that’d open up a lot of new places for carriers to go. And putting them in shouldn’t be all that hard. Converting existing fueling stations into hydrogen ones – or even hybrid diesel/hydrogen ones – is a great idea. The routes are already established, as are the fueling stations. All that would need to be done is to install hydrogen fuel pumps. Now, that’s a lot easier said than done, of course, but the fact remains – it’s doable.
Most importantly, though, a rise in hydrogen fuel could result in lower auto shipping prices, especially if the fuel becomes ubiquitous. Carriers not having to pay top dollar for fossil fuels can end up saving them a ton of money, which would be passed on to you in the form of lower prices.
It’s hard to go wrong with that!
Ship a Car Today With American Auto Shipping
Overall, we’re not saying that hydrogen is going to be the next best thing. We honestly don’t know. But right now, electric auto transport trucks really aren’t all that feasible. Between the weight and the distance and the recharge time, the technology isn’t there, and it may never be there.
But hydrogen is here now. There have been prototypes built, there have been trucks built, and there’s a lot of research into the technology. Hydrogen fueling stations exist and there have been gas stations that have been retrofitted to pump hydrogen instead of gasoline.
So naturally, that’s all ready to go. All it takes is the time and the money and the willpower to actually get it done.
Of course, even if they do start working hard to implement hydrogen fuel it won’t happen overnight. It’ll be gradual. So for now, the old way is still the best way to move a car.
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