While many observers firmly believe that the future of long-haul trucking around the world will rely on hydrogen-powered fuel-cell technology, one Australian who is at the absolute forefront of electric trucking isn’t so sure about that.
Bill Gillespie, Asia-Pacific Regional President of Melbourne-based electric truck manufacturer, SEA Electric, told CarsGuide that we should be wary of ruling out alternative technologies in favour of a single option.
“I’m not saying we won’t see the hydrogen fuel-cell play a big part in long-haul transport,” he said, “but Hydrogen might turn out to be one part of the potential solution.”
“The big problem with any powertrain is that the heavier it is, the more compromised the payload becomes. But even that doesn’t rule out batteries of some sort playing a part.”
Replaceable batteries are one alternative, Mr Gillespie said.
In fact, NSW Central Coast-based Janus Electric is already working on a prime-mover that uses replaceable batteries based on a change-station network on major arterials.
Although still in the prototype stage, Janus claims that a battery swap will take about three minutes and would give a B-Double a range of between 400-500km on a battery-set.
But Mr Gillespie has dived even further into the alternatives, and says that a hybrid-diesel could also be a reality.
This is well-established technology and has been used to power freight trains for decades. Fundamentally, a diesel engine produces the electricity to drive the electric motors that power the train’s wheels. There’s absolutely no reason it couldn’t work for a road-train as well.
In the meantime, SEA Electric’s focus remains on the light- and medium-truck market which is primarily used for urban work where range is not as much of an issue as it is for long-haul trucks.
While these urban-based trucks tend to fly under the radar a little, when they’re counted as a group, the potential benefits of electrification start to add up.
About 21,000 medium and light trucks are sold in Australia each year, and those make up about 40 per cent of all freight deliveries.
Given that many government departments are averse to carbon-fuelled vehicles and even global giant Ikea is moving to eTruck deliveries in 30 of its markets, the scope for eTrucks – regardless of the tech they use – to blossom is huge.
Continue reading the full article at Cars Guide by David Morely published on April 13, 2022.