Are “nearly zero emission” diesel trucks delaying the adoption of electric vehicles?

While striving to reduce emissions, the freight industry often faces the following questions: Is it better to upgrade current technology or invest in research and development of new technology?

Consider the heavy truck market.

The latest generation of diesel trucks offers improved measurable efficiency and reduced emissions, but experts who consider electric vehicles (EVs) and other zero-emission vehicles to be future trucks will find improvements in diesel technology. We are concerned that it may delay the adoption of EVs.

New diesel vehicles will last 10 to 20 years, depending on mileage and other factors, so investing in diesel vehicles now can delay your investment in EVs.

Casey Selecman, Director of Powertrain Forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions, said in a webinar at the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF):

He added that trucking companies are risk averse to EVs and that EV adoption is “very slow and orderly.”

“It doesn’t take away the opportunity that electric vehicles offer in terms of reducing CO2 emissions to truly zero levels by using the right amount of renewable energy to power them, but now. I think it emphasizes the great potential to reduce greenhouse gases. Is there anything we can do now to do that? And this latest generation of diesel is doing it today. ” Webinar..

Compared to older diesel trucks, the latest generation of diesel trucks contributed to a “significant savings” in CO2 emissions of 202 million tonnes between 2007 and 2020, according to Selecman. In the last 13 years, the new diesel trucks have reduced emissions equivalent to driving 43 million light vehicles off the road each year, according to the DTF.

In addition to reducing CO2 emissions, the latest generation of diesel vehicles has had a positive impact on air quality. From 2007 to 2020, replacing old and inefficient diesel trucks prevented 27 million tonnes of nitrogen oxides. Another pollutant that is harmful to human health, particulate matter, has been reduced by 1.6 million tonnes over the same time frame.

Recently Released DTF data It is said that 49% of all diesel commercial vehicles in the United States (5.5 million class 3-8 trucks) are equipped with the latest diesel technology. From July 2019 to December 2020 alone, adoption of these “nearly zero emission” diesel trucks increased by 6%.

Experts say it fuels the latest generation of diesel engines. Biodiesel packs even more environmental and air quality benefits. May DTF release Renewable diesel and biodiesel will reduce CO2 emissions in California by three times in 2020, according to data sharing from the California Air Resources Board.

The DTF said that switching to biodiesel could have a significant impact on the trucking industry’s emissions, as 76% of all commercial vehicles in the United States are diesel vehicles.

“Although the potential for zero-emission commercial vehicles is increasing, it may take years, if not more than a decade, for these solutions to be introduced to the fleet in significant numbers. In the meantime, continuous progress in improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is essential, “says the chef. statement..

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Alyssa Sporrer.

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