Maintain your eyes on these 9 electrical truck and van firms

Final yr, various automakers introduced or superior formidable plans to impress heavy-duty large rigs, semi-trucks, field vans, supply vans and extra. That article was one in all GreenBiz’s hottest tales all year long. And the demand and curiosity on this expertise is just rising stronger. Provided that vans devour the overwhelming majority of power in comparison with different modes of freight transportation, electrification on this space has big potential to lower the carbon influence of fleets.

These new autos are shortly bumping up towards acquainted challenges of battery vary, manufacturing capability and charging, or fueling, infrastructure. That is one motive a bunch of fleet leaders who spoke on the GreenBiz VERGE 20 convention late final yr stated they’re integrating renewable pure fuel and different effectivity enhancements alongside a long-term push to impress.

The transition can be proving to require a group effort that goes far past the car producers — and involving governments, utilities and a brand new ecosystem of technicians to go together with it.

Nonetheless, the transition accelerated in 2020 as extra mammoth automakers pushed electrical trucking fleets nearer to actuality. Right here’s a take a look at what 9 big-name gamers achieved over the previous 12 months, and what to control in 2021.


Arrival, a five-year-old London-based startup, is establishing a presence within the U.S. and attracting main investments for its electrical buses and vans nonetheless in growth.

The corporate closed out 2020 by investing $3 million and hiring 150 workers for its North American headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. However the larger information for Arrival got here earlier within the yr, when UPS introduced an order of 10,000 purpose-built electrical vans, to be delivered by way of 2024. The deal is price lots of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} annually to Arrival.

The upstart is hoping to tell apart itself within the electrical car market in two main methods. First, and maybe most crucially, it plans to cost its autos on the similar or decrease costs as comparable fossil-fuel autos. This can be achieved partially through the use of a patented, composite materials the corporate has developed.

Second, Arrival is constructing its autos in a community of “microfactories,” the primary of which is in South Carolina. The smaller factories use a brand new sort of meeting course of and will enable the corporate to extra simply customise autos for various prospects. Every microfactory will have the ability to produce 10,000 vans or 1,000 buses per yr, Arrival President Avinash Rugoobur advised the Observer.

Arrival nonetheless has but to specify the vary specs for its vans, however it’s anticipated to be a minimum of 100 miles. The composite materials guarantees to make the vans light-weight and resistant to break, one other potential edge for Arrival over different van designs rising out there. The vans are anticipated to start out rolling out for supply in 2022.

BYD Class 8


BYD is well-known for its electrical buses, which proceed to promote to fleets across the nation. However the firm’s trucking division is ramping up manufacturing of medium- and heavy-duty electrical vans, too.

BYD is the world’s largest producer of electrical autos, and its fashions embody a Class 8 Day Cab, a Class 6 truck, a terminal tractor and two fashions of all-electric refuse vans.

BYD delivered its one hundredth battery-electric truck in the united statesin early 2020, a Class 8 mannequin for Anheuser-Busch’s distribution operations in Oakland, California. It’s a relationship that’s more likely to proceed as Anheuser-Busch has dedicated to decreasing carbon emissions by 25 p.c throughout its complete worth chain by 2025.

BYD’s Class 8 has a spread of 125 miles and a prime velocity of 65 miles per hour. It could possibly recharge in as little as two hours with a high-speed direct present system or in about 14 hours with a normal 240-volt charging system.

World transport supplier DHL additionally started piloting BYD’s Class 8 vans in November, including 4 autos to its fleet in Los Angeles. That simply might develop as DHL works to fulfill a aim of net-zero logistics-related emissions by 2050.


Daimler Vehicles

Daimler, the biggest truck maker on the earth, is seeing vital progress on its Freightliner eCascadia, an electrical large rig that guarantees a 250-mile vary.

The German automaker just lately delivered a Freightliner eCascadia to Southern California Edison (SCE) for a three-month trial of the battery-electric Class 8 truck. The ability utility firm will use the eCascadia to move heavy gear from its warehouse to service facilities. It matches in with SCE’s aim to impress 30 p.c of its medium-duty autos and pickup vans and eight p.c of its heavy-duty vans by 2030.

Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz model additionally unveiled a brand new electrical mannequin this yr, the Mercedes-Benz eActros LongHaul. It builds on the corporate’s present short-range eActros truck that’s already being examined by prospects. The eActros LongHaul guarantees a 310-mile vary, and Daimler predicts will probably be prepared for manufacturing by 2024.

Alongside the eActros LongHaul, Daimler additionally introduced an electric-fuel cell truck referred to as the Mercedes-Benz GenH2, which it says might drive greater than 600 miles earlier than refueling is required. Daimler expects to start out piloting the truck in 2023 and making it commercially accessible by 2025.

Ford E-Transit


American auto large Ford jumped into a brand new sector of the electrical car market in 2020 with plans to develop an all-electric model of its common Transit cargo van.

Ford is promising that the E-Transit van can be accessible beginning in late 2021. The car is anticipated to price “lower than $45,000” and may have a spread of 126 miles.

Ford sells 150,000 of its conventional E-Transit vans annually. Analysis from the corporate’s inner knowledge says the typical Transit person drives 74 miles per day, nicely throughout the projected vary of the electrical model of the car.

Ford’s formidable manufacturing timeline is backed by a $100 million funding to retrofit a Kansas Metropolis plant that’s already making the diesel-powered Transit. Ford says manufacturing of the E-Transit additionally will create 150 jobs.

Throughout the corporate, Ford’s funding in electrifying autos by way of 2022 totals $11.5 billion. New fashions embody the Mustang Mach-E and an electrical model of its Ford F-150, America’s hottest pickup truck.

Nikola Two

Nikola Motors

Phoenix-based startup Nikola Motors made a giant step towards rolling out its electrical semi-trucks this yr. The corporate introduced over the summer season plans for a $600 million manufacturing unit in Arizona, the place it desires to start making absolutely electrical vans in 2021 and hydrogen fuel-cell fashions by 2023.

The plans got here shortly after the corporate went public in June, marking a yr of great development for the lesser-known auto firm named after Nikola Tesla, the Serbian-American inventor who created electrical motors.

The corporate’s fashions embody two semi-trucks accessible with both absolutely electrical or hydrogen fuel-cell electrical capabilities, and anticipated ranges between 500 and 700 miles. The Nikola Two is meant for North America, and the Nikola Tre is out there in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Creating the infrastructure to refuel tens of hundreds of hydrogen-powered large rigs that Nikola plans to placed on the street would require an enormous funding. The corporate plans to construct a nationwide community of 700 hydrogen stations within the U.S. by 2028, doubtlessly with assist from BP. (To place that into perspective, there are about 400 hydrogen fueling stations worldwide.) The corporate plans to energy every refueling station with renewable sources equivalent to wind and photo voltaic. It should take between 10 and quarter-hour to refill one in all its semi-trucks.

Amazon Rivian van interior


Rivian spent a lot of 2020 racing to fill what’s by any measure an enormous order: 100,000 all-electric supply vans designed for e-commerce large Amazon.

The corporate is constructing out a manufacturing unit line for the vans in its Regular, Illinois, facility. A prototype is already being examined, and Rivian expects to ship the primary vans to Amazon through the second half of 2021, in accordance with an organization spokesperson.

Rivian’s settlement with Amazon guarantees 10,000 vans by the tip of 2022 and 100,000 by 2030. The vans can be inbuilt three sizes and are a part of Amazon’s technique to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Ross Rachey, director of world fleet and product logistics for Amazon, spoke with GreenBiz Senior Author Katie Fehrenbacher throughout a session at VERGE 20. He stated that along with the tall order Amazon gave to Rivian, one other steep problem would be the infrastructure wanted to assist the fleet.

“The truth is that charging infrastructure, electrical energy and utility connections — it is the longest lead, most likely essentially the most difficult a part of this equation,” Rachey advised GreenBiz.

Tesla Semi


Tesla has been teasing its entrance into the heavy-duty transportation sector for years, ever because it unveiled plans for the Tesla Semi in 2017. However manufacturing timelines have been pushed again again and again, with the corporate now projecting a 2021 begin date.

Tesla nonetheless continues to obtain massive orders for the long-promised Tesla Semi electrical Class-8 truck, together with Walmart’s 130-truck reservation in September. Different big-name firms equivalent to Anheuser-Busch, FedEx, PepsiCo and UPS even have expressed curiosity however have but to place down the $20,000-per-truck reservation charges.

The Tesla Semis will are available two fashions: one with a 300-mile vary and one with a 500-mile vary. In response to the corporate, the anticipated base costs for these vans are $150,000 and $180,000, respectively. (A typical Class 8 diesel day-cab begins at roughly $120,000.)

Tesla says the Semi will speed up from 0 mph to 60 mph in 20 seconds whereas carrying a full load (roughly 40 tons); will probably be capable of keep that velocity whereas touring up a 5 p.c grade, in accordance with the corporate.

Because the delays in Tesla Semi manufacturing have piled up, some analysts consider the massive rig has change into a “distraction” and basically totally different enterprise from Tesla’s electrical passenger autos.

Volvo VNR


Volvo Vehicles introduced its zero-emission truck, the VNR Electrical, to market simply as 2020 got here to an in depth.

The VNR Electrical has a 150-mile vary, with speeds as much as 65 mph on the freeway. An 80 p.c cost for the car takes 70 minutes, Volvo says. The truck is available in three fashions: A straight truck; a 4×2 tractor; and a 6×2 tractor.

Volvo invested $400 million into its New River Valley, Virginia, manufacturing unit to assemble the vans, which first rolled out in Southern California in 2019. VNR Electrical comes out of Volvo’s broader Low-Influence Inexperienced Heavy Transport Options (LIGHTS), itself a part of California Local weather Investments. The statewide program places billions of cap-and-trade {dollars} to work decreasing greenhouse fuel emissions, in accordance with a Volvo firm assertion.

Volvo has stated it’ll provide the vans for lease or sale, and in addition will lease and finance charging infrastructure to go together with them.

Volvo Vehicles can be within the early levels of introducing a hydrogen fuel-cell truck in a partnership with Daimler. Volvo Vehicles CEO Martin Lundstedt stated the COVID-19 disaster was a motivating issue for the corporate to extend its focus on this space, in accordance with Forbes.



An electrical truck startup out of Cincinnati, Workhorse is making progress on its C-Sequence all-electric supply van, with large orders arriving in 2020.

The corporate obtained a purchase order order for 500 of its all-electric C-1000 supply autos from Pritchard Firms in November. Pritchard is among the nation’s largest business car distributors, promoting over 30,000 autos annually.

Workhorse additionally made headlines in July when it introduced that Ryder System would provide the C-Sequence vans by way of its leasing and rental packages.

The C-1000 Workhorse electrical van contains 1,000 cubic ft of cargo house, with about 100 miles of vary. The car can attain prime speeds of 75 mph.

As Workhorse heads into 2021 with a giant stack of orders, it stays to be seen whether or not it might ship on manufacturing. Automotive World reported in November that the corporate’s manufacturing unit was battling quick staffing amid a resurgent COVID-19 outbreak in Ohio.

Workhorse’s destiny additionally is determined by whether or not it lands a chunk of a $6.3 billion United States Postal Service contract to provide 186,000 mail vans within the coming years. Workhorse’s inventory fell 21 p.c on the USPS announcement that it might not select a contractor as initially deliberate close to the tip of 2020. A call is anticipated within the second quarter of 2021.

4 groups are competing for the USPS contract: India’s Mahindra Automotive North America; Turkey’s Karsan/Michigan’s Morgan Olson; American firms Oshkosh/Ford; and Workhorse.

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