Thought of the Day: Electric Trucks

Mark replies to Nikki’s thoughts on public charging networks and EV adverts and talks about Via Motors and electrified trucks.

Unlike our other shows, Thought of the Day is our chance to muse on one big story in the news each day, using it as a spring board to explore other topics, sometimes even outside of the Transport Evolved universe. Every weekday, Nikki and Mark will take it in turns to explore a story that catches our eye, developing a back and forth conversation between Transport Evolved’s two regular hosts.

As with our Quick Charge series, our Thought of the Day will be recorded very simply on a single smartphone, but then quickly edited together using the jump cut edit style popular with many YouTube vlogs. We think this style complements our other shows and offers us a different way to share our thoughts with you, our readers and viewers.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.


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  • Interesting thoughts Mark u2026nnThe question of “should there be an EV truck” is a good one!nnAgree with you (from a personal) perspective on using smaller, more efficient vehicles. However, I think Lutz is on to something:n1) in US, outside of west coast states, the percentage of trucks sold each year is over 50% of all vehicles. The F-150 is the greatest volume seller of any vehicle by a long shot. n2) VIA is not only going to produce trucks, by full size vans and suburbans as well. (because American roads are so bad, full of pop holes, etc. it’s required u2026 OK, just joking 😉 The mix of trucks, vans, and multi-passenger EVs fills a need in the commercial and small business fleets u2026 where life cycle operational economics are valued. nnTrucks will be an interesting with a new category for EVs in 2015 with u2026 n VIA Truck, Model X, and Nissan eNV200. More choice is good. 🙂

  • Espen Hugaas Andersen

    Every vehicle should be electric, even buses, semi-trailer trucks, tractors, etc. The metrics are easy – the bigger a vehicle is, the more energy it uses, and the greater the potential savings.nnnI agree that many people drive cars that exceed their needs, and that this isn’t necessarily a good thing, but assuming all reasonable steps to limit their use are taken, the larger vehicles will still have a role to play, and they should be electric.nnnIf you equip a bus with 10 Model S batteries, this will weigh around 5.5 tons and have a capacity of 850 kWh. This should be possible to fit in the chassis of a 15 ton bus without much problem, and would be more than enough for a day of driving, Especially if you also install some 500 kW rapid chargers.nnnFor semis, you need battery swapping. Ideally, you should swap the battery pack whenever the drive needs a scheduled break. Here in Norway you are required to take a 45 minute break at least every 4.5 hours. So, if the driver could park in a battery swap station, and after taking a 45 minute break be able to resume driving with a full battery, that would be great.nnnA semi here in Norway drives an average of 67,000 km/year and can use an average of around 50 l/100 km. That means one semi can use around 33,500 liters of diesel each year. If you compare that to 15 Model S sized sedans, they will use on average around 15,600 liters of petroleum. In other words, if you used 15 Model S battery packs per semi, you would double your fuel savings per battery pack. (You’d for instance have a fleet of 50 semis using 75 battery packs with 850 kWh each, where 25 are always charging.)

    • Guy Gooch

      Mr. Andersen, your first statement “every vehicle should be electric” is a question I have asked Mark and Nikki. Is there enough Lithium on our planet to really make this happen? nReplace all I.C.E’s… It’s that even possible??? Sounds like the making of a good audio book Mark.. “No ICE Land”. What do you think Mark????

      • Espen Hugaas Andersen

        Yes. It’s possible. Lithium is a fairly common element on the planet – about as common as nickel, lead, boron or cobalt.nnThe proven commercially viable reseves are 13 million tonnes, with an additional 26 million tonnes that are potentially extractable if the price goes up. With 150-400 grams needed per kWh of battery capacity (depending on battery chemistry), each car with a 50 kWh battery pack needs 7.5-20 kg. That means that the economically extractable reserves are sufficient for 0.65 – 1.7 billion 50 kWh EVs, and the additional potential reserves are good for another 1.3 – 3.4 billion 50 kWh EVs. nnAdditionally, there have been some experiments performed attempting to extract lithium from sea water. This is technically possible, but isn’t currently commercially sustainable. However, if lithium-prices were to soar, that could quickly change. The worlds oceans contains another 230 billion tonnes, which would be good for 11.5 – 30.5 trillion 50 kWh EVs.nnBasically, there’s an enormous amount of lithium in the world. The reserves would be far greater than now if only the price were higher. The cost of lithium is only around 5% of the cost of the battery. The only reason why people think lithium is an issue is because they’ve heard all about “rare earth elements”, and falsely believe lithium is one of these elements. My guess is the reason why people believe lithium is a rare earth element is that they’ve been taught that hybrid batteries (NiMH) are stuffed with rare earth elements, which is true, and then they’ve projected that knowledge onto electric car batteries.nnAnyway, availability of lithium is not now, nor will it ever be, an issue.