Best battery-electric trucks and lorries
We look at our top-nine zero-emissions trucks, including Tesla, Volta, Daimler and Tevva, that are helping to clean up the commercial world
The 16-tonne Volta Zero is our current winner when it comes to electric trucks. It’s the first electric truck that has been natively designed from the ground up to be a purpose-built zero-emissions vehicle for clean city freight distribution. It is therefore unencumbered by previous forms and has been created and built responsibly with sustainability at its core. Safety is also a big feature helping to protect vulnerable road users with a low driver position, cameras, blind-spot monitoring and wide vision 220-degrees of visibility to minimise dangerous blind spots. It has a load capacity of 37.7 m3 with 8,600 kg payload and offers a pure electric range of up to 125 miles (200km). The Volta Zero will eliminate an estimated 180,000 tonnes of CO2 by 2025.
We have no doubt that Tesla Semi will be a great electric truck and could well be competing for a top spot. Right now though, with the launch date being set back several times it’s hard to rate it but we couldn’t not feature it based on the reputation of Tesla's fabulous electric cars. What we do know is that it will accelerate from 0-62mph (0-100kph) in 20 seconds with 80,000lbs (36,287kg) of weight thanks to a 0.36 drag coefficient. It will be available in both 300-mile (480km) and 500-mile (800km) range versions and should be able to charge up to 80 percent in 30 minutes using a Tesla solar-powered Megacharger charging station. It will also be an efficient drive with an energy consumption of 2kWh per mile. It’s now expected to be officially launched at end of 2021.
Volvo FL and FE Trucks
Volvo have two main trucks, the FL and FE, currently in its electric arsenal. Volvo’s FL is a two-axle truck with a gross vehicle weight up to 16 tonnes and is ideal for urban transport like deliveries and refuse collection. It’s available with two different wheelbases and battery capacity for an operating range up to 186 miles (300km).
The FE is bigger heavier three-axle truck with a gross vehicle weight up to 27 tonnes. This is designed demanding types of urban transport like waste collection, light construction transports and deliveries. The operating range here is up to 124 miles (200km).
Along with the eTGM Man offers a range of electric trucks to suit all sizes and needs. The 26-tonne MAN eTGM has a range of up to 118 miles (190km) and has an electric drive output of 264 kW (360 hp) and 3,100 Nm. It uses 12 highly efficient lithium-ion NMC battery packs with 185 kWh of available capacity, installed in a space-saving manner. A chiller is installed to provide the necessary cooling. Since October 2018, the MAN eTGM has been operating for nine Austrian companies in the sectors of commerce, logistics and production of the CNL (Council for Sustainable Logistics).
Electra has concentrated its effort creating 100 percent electric vehicles to reduce the impact vehicles have in city centres including noise and exhaust pollution. The British company has prioritised low entry chassis units from Mercedes Benz Econic and Dennis Eagle Elite. This is because these are commonly the chassis of choice for delivery operators in the city, along with DAF, Isuzu, Iveco, MAN and many others. Electra has a low entry chassis at up to 26 tonne gross weight vehicle (GVW) on any axle combination available to body. The battery capacity provides a range of 155 miles (250km) and nine-hour power-take off operation. They offer vehicles for refuse and recycling with bin lifts and compaction.
DAF LF and CF Electric
DAF has two key electric trucks in its range. The 19-tonne LF Electric has a payload allowance of 11.7 tonnes and a 260kW (370kW peak power) electric motor that's powered by a 282kWh battery pack. The result is a range of up to 174 miles (280km). It features onboard charging, which means it can be connected to a three-phase electrical supply for overnight charging and quick charging is also available. With a DC charger up to 80 percent charge can be achieved in two hours. The LF IS available as a rigid truck with a 5.30m or 5.85m wheelbase.
The CF is a versatile all round electric truck and is available as a two-axle tractor unit and as a three-axle rigid truck. It’s ideal for supermarket deliveries, refuse collection and as a regular shuttle service between two production facilities. It has a 210kW (240kW peak power) electric motor driven by a 350kWh battery pack. It has a range of 155 miles (250km) with an impressive high torque from standstill.
Established in 1995 Chinese company Build Your Dreams (BYD) has created over 30 industrial parks worldwide and played a significant role in industries related to electronics, automobiles, new energy and rail transit. Within their large portfolio, they offer a range of electric trucks including their Class 8 Day Cab, Class 8 Refuse Truck, Terminal Tractor, Class 6 Truck and Class 6 Refuse Truck. With such a range BYD has a truck suitable for most tasks. As a global pioneer in new energy solutions, the brand is dedicated to building a zero-emission ecosystem and building a sustainable future through electrification.
Daimler Freightliner eCascadia and eM2
In 2018 Daimler Trucks unveiled two new electric trucks to the world. The Freightliner eCascadia is a Class 8 heavy-duty battery-electric truck, while the Freightliner eM2 106 is an all-electric truck designed for the medium-duty segment. The eCascadia, which is based on Daimler’s Cascadia, offers up to 730 peak horsepower from its 550 kWh batteries. It will provide enough energy for a range of up to 250 miles (400kms) and can be recharged to 80 percent in about 90 minutes, allowing it to cover yet another 200 miles (320km).
The Freightliner eM2 106 is ideally suited for local distribution and last-mile deliveries. The 325kWh batteries in the eM2 provide 480 horsepower and offer up to 230 miles (370km) of range. These can be recharged to 80 percent within just 60 minutes, enough for a range of an additional 184 miles (300km).
Alongside building electric trucks Tevva are also a manufacturer of electric vehicle batteries putting them in a good position to make clean and efficient commercial vehicles. One of the big features of Tevva’s eTruck is the on-board, range extender technology which enables drivers to get more miles from less battery. This means there are big savings over traditional diesel vehicles. A standard Tevva eTruck offers a range of up to 93 miles (150km). Tevva’s trucks are designed to be flexible and practical making them ideal for urban deliveries from 7.5-tonne gross vehicle weight (GVW) upwards. The brand offers their eTruck in a range of sizes from 7.5 tonne to12 tonne GVW with minimal compromise on payload. Tevva will offer 19-tonne GVW version from 2022.