Around the world, governments at various levels are currently in the process of developing plans to ease the transition to sustainable technology for transport fleets.
Perhaps the leading program has been instigated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), whose Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) Regulation leads the way in delivering the opening wave of zero-emission trucks to that state’s roads.
Tackling climate change is a difficult task, and especially in an area with such an expansive economy as California, there is an added emphasis on putting mandates in place to shape the thinking of business leaders.
California has aimed high, with challenging targets being put in place to lower pollutants from the transport task, which further to the obvious environmental results, also improves public health outcomes.
Stated targets currently include:
• Federal health-based ambient air quality standards (key dates in 2023 and 2031),
• 40 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases (GHG) by 2030,
• 80 per cent reduction in GHGs by 2050, and
• 50 per cent reduction in petroleum use by 2030
To achieve these outcomes, everyone from all walks of life must contribute to the solution.
Internal combustion-powered vehicles have been calculated to be behind around 80 per cent of smog-forming Nitrous Oxide emissions, 50 per cent of GHG emissions (including fuel production), and over 95 per cent of poisonous diesel particulate emissions.
By two significant measures, the ACT Regulation aims to see trucks converted to zero-emissions solutions, namely via:
• Zero-emission truck sales: Manufacturers who certify Class 2b-8 chassis or complete vehicles with combustion engines would be required to sell zero-emission trucks as an increasing percentage of their annual California sales from 2024 to 2035. By 2035, zero-emission truck/chassis sales would need to be 55 per cent of Class 2b–3 truck sales, 75 per cent of class 4–8 straight truck sales, and 40 per cent of truck tractor sales.
• Company and fleet reporting: Large employers including retailers, manufacturers, brokers and others are required to report information about shipments and shuttle services. Fleet owners, with 50 or more trucks, are required to report about their existing fleet operations. This information will help identify future strategies to ensure that fleets purchase available zero-emission trucks and place them in service where suitable to meet their needs.
To facilitate this switch, state and federal agencies, including CARB, plus different local air districts have put in place various funding programs for fleets to utilize, including the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project, which provides point-of-sale rebates to offset the upfront cost of advanced technologies.
The Switch is On
Other jurisdictions have caught on, with more than a dozen U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the Province of Quebec in Canada, now all sitting alongside California in a united front requiring manufacturers to offer zero-emissions solutions.
Significant modelling has taken place to show the possibilities for other states to convert to EV, and the figures are significant.
For instance, compared to a case where “business as usual” were to carry on in the state of Illinois, between 2020 and 2050, by adopting the ACT Regulation, 146,430 US tons of Nitrous Oxide emissions will be reduced, alongside 140 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.
If more ambitious targets were in place, including a 100 per cent heavy-duty ZEV sales target for 2040, those relative figures would grow to 252,240 US tons of Nitrous Oxide emissions saved, plus 187 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.
The story is similar elsewhere, with the necessary technology to make the switch already readily available.
SEA Electric’s Solutions
As leaders in the field of zero-emissions power-systems for the transport sector, SEA Electric has proven technology that is prime for scale uptake, and accelerate the push towards sustainability in the marketplace.
With a decade of experience in the Class 3 to 8 field, no matter the truck or bus size, platform or application, the SEA-Drive® power-system can be adapted to practically any fleet.
The architecture is the world’s most cost-effective 100 per cent electric power-system available in the commercial vehicle market, with zero local emissions, all while being incredibly quiet as it provides a powerful yet smooth ride.
Complete with an upgradable plug-and-play design, SEA Electric’s solutions are ready to meet your future needs, today.
Around the world, there is an understanding that society must improve its practices to combat climate change.
Sustainability is core to our mission here at SEA Electric – we aim to eliminate 2.5 billion pounds (1.1 billion kilograms) of CO2 emissions from the transport task over the next five years, through the widespread uptake of purely electric-powered commercial vehicles.
With zero-local tailpipe emissions, transitioning to EVs ticks many boxes – with commercial road transport accounting for a disproportionate share of vehicle emissions and dangerous airborne particulates.
For instance, in Australia, heavy transport constitutes approximately four per cent of road vehicles, but they perform eight per cent of the total kilometres travelled, while burning through 23 per cent of all road transport fuel used.
While converting to EVs eliminates this diesel fuel burn portion, sceptics point out that coal or gas-fired electricity generation forms the backbone of current energy networks, especially within the domestic Australian market.
Essentially, critics point to a shifting of emissions from the roads to power stations.
However, like road transport, energy generation is a field experiencing a tremendous transformation to a sustainable future.
Free Fuel from your Rooftop
Rooftop solar is an energy source that has had a significant impact in many areas around the world.
For the sake of this case study, we are going to focus on SEA Electric’s Australian manufacturing facility, and its local area, the state of Victoria, a corner of the world synonymous with sunshine.
Recently the plant doubled in size to 7,000m2 of assembly, research and development plus storage space, with the original half of the complex having had a 100kW solar power system installed last year, consisting of 250 x 400W solar panels.
In its first 12 months of operation, the array produced 129MWh, while the site consumed a total of 79MWh, with the system exporting 86MWh of energy to the power grid.
Overall, the site is 60 per cent carbon positive – it produces 60 per cent more energy than it consumes.
Although the facility does not currently operate around the clock, the installation of 200kWh of battery storage would cover 99 per cent of energy requirement scenarios the business could encounter.
For SEA Electric, it is important that the SEA-Drive® power-systems on the trucks receive their first charge directly from the sun, free from emissions and ultimately without an ongoing out-of-pocket expense.
To generate energy, there are two different basic requirements – either light from the sun, or movement, as produced by the turbines spun in coal, gas/petroleum, nuclear, geothermal, wind or hydropower plants.
Other emerging sources include tidal power, biomass steam, and concentrating solar-thermal power, amongst others, which all provide movement for power generation.
Meanwhile, large-scale battery deployments provide grid stability and security with storage ultimately utilised at peak times.
An election pledge in the state of Victoria recently called for an ambitious renewable energy production target of 95 per cent by 2035, which on the surface, appears to be quite ambitious.
However, digging deeper, the area is well on its way.
Renewable energy website Renew Economy reported this week on the state of play of the current local energy market, which noted that over a three-day period to the end of Monday, a mix of renewable energy sources including solar, rooftop solar, hydro and wind energy contributed 49 per cent of the state’s demand.
Included in this period was the first time that wind power alone was able to generate over 75 per cent of total demand on Monday morning.
This is a significant figure, especially against the fact that only two years ago, wind power’s highest-ever share was 48 per cent, while in early 2018 the number stood at only 26 per cent.
Obviously, there is still work to be done to sure up supply at times of peak demand, but the groundwork is already in place to grow the renewable supply to cover all demand.
Victoria’s capital Melbourne, a city of five million inhabitants, has multiple free energy sources already being utilised.
For instance, Melbourne Water has in place a network of 14 hydroelectric power stations, generating approximately 69,500MWh a year.
While generation at reservoirs is a long-standing practice, over recent years, a series of 14 mini power stations have been built across the water supply network, including in suburban areas.
Yes, other jurisdictions around the world are ahead of Victoria, with others lagging behind in the transition to renewables, but there is no doubt that there is a clear path forward.
The New Energy Ecosystem
A part of the mass uptake of electric commercial vehicles is the dawn of the new energy ecosystem.
Consider the vehicles to be battery storage on wheels, with the rooftop solar panels on depots stand-alone power stations, with excess energy captured by on-site batteries.
Additionally, the EV fleet of the future will be able to support the power grid with Vehicle-to-Grid, or V2G technology, which can feed power back into the grid at times of high demand.
The future is coming, and it may be closer than you expect.
One of the most exhilarating aspects of being involved in the commercial vehicle EV space is that we are just scratching the surface of the possibilities that lay ahead.
While SEA Electric’s technology is mature and proven in the field with over 1.5 million miles of real-world use that is backed by telematics data, considering where the future of commercial eMobility technology is heading is exciting.
Everything onboard: electric
It is one thing to provide the market with a specialist commercial grade electric power-system, but the next challenge conquered by SEA Electric has been to fully electrify all ancillary functions of a wide range of vehicles to date.
The SEA-Drive® power-system is highly adaptable to most OEM glider chassis, covering applications from 3.5t to 29t, and in that range is a massive array of final applications.
While the technology is perfectly suited to first mile and last mile delivery use, such as with dry freight, the SEA Electric team have to date successfully integrated many other functions, that have traditionally been powered via the truck’s ICE driveline.
Take for instance refuse – with multiple successful deployments of various sized rear compactor or side loader garbage trucks.
Nobody likes to be woken up by an early morning rubbish pickup, and now with near silent EVs running urban routes, the stop-start brake and transmission squeal of previous trucks is gone.
Integrating refrigeration units to trucks has also been successfully achieved.
Some other major breakthroughs to date have included elevated work platforms, otherwise known as cherry pickers or boom trucks, while tilt trays and dump trucks have also been built to pure-EV spec.
One of the areas where innovation has already shone through is with the innovative design on various new municipal work trucks.
Thinking outside the box, standard power points have been installed on trucks, allowing them to power tools and allowing for recharging in the field, greatly adding to the utility of the vehicles, without sapping the low-voltage batteries.
Taking the power off
In previous internal combustion-powered vehicles, the Power Take Off, or PTO, is typically found on the vehicle’s transmission, which for many applications connects to a hydraulic pump to run various systems.
One of the downsides of this arrangement is that the engine must always be running for the PTO to be operable.
While the SEA-Drive® power-system runs the drive system of a vehicle, it also is the brain behind the energy management needs of ancillaries.
Gone are the PTO-powered belts and pumps of the past, in are independent electrically driven systems.
It’s a major deviation from the norm, but it leads to significant efficiency gains, with energy only deployed when required.
The future of eMobility is up to your imagination!
When considering the SEA-Drive® power-system, not only does it run near silently and without fumes, but with its architecture not requiring thermal management, it runs to a low temperature, especially when compared to an ICE vehicle with a hot engine and exhaust system.
So, possibilities exist working with sensitive and hazardous materials.
Traditional truck ancillaries such as pumps, winches, blowers, suckers, compressors, booms and lifts could all be adapted to electric power.
Everyone loves a food truck – now picture one that doesn’t require a noisy and smelly diesel generator, or reliance on burning gas.
Think outside the box truck, commercial EV can get the job done, sustainably.