Two items of stories crossed my desk prior to now couple of days, one a fantastic piece of stories in regards to the present actuality of batteries for transportation, and the opposite a bravura efficiency by Andrew Boyle, first vice chair of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) in entrance of Congress, the place he spouted remarkably inaccurate issues about electrical vehicles whereas apparently managing by no means to say local weather change in any means, form, or type.
The primary piece of stories invalidates 50% of Boyle’s statements, so let’s begin there. CATL, a battery agency which owns about 34% of world market share, simply introduced a 500 Watt-hour per kilogram (Wh/kg) battery for aviation use circumstances, and that it will be offering an automotive variant this 12 months as nicely. For context, the Panasonic batteries which have dominated Teslas prior to now few years are 269 Wh/kg, whereas the brand new, simpler to fabricate and assemble 4680 batteries run at 244 Wh/kg.
That’s about double the power density by mass. The Tesla Semi has a 500-mile vary, and those delivered to Pepsi have been working 500 miles with chips and no less than 400 miles with full a great deal of Pepsi. The burden of load doesn’t kill semi-tractor efficiency that a lot, with a full 80,000-pound gross car weight on the highway representing over 20 tons of freight solely decreasing gas effectivity about 20% over a really mild load, in Oak Ridge Nationwide Laboratory testing in 2011. On flattish terrain, the Tesla Semi possible can do 500 miles absolutely loaded, and it’s assumed to be utilizing the Panasonic batteries with 269 Wh/kg power density. With the CATL batteries, its vary will possible be over 900 miles.
CATL has delivered what it guarantees when it guarantees it, and it’s delivering over a 3rd of batteries used right this moment. This isn’t a VC-backed hype fest, that is the world’s greatest producer and credible supply delivering massively extra power density. And battery power density isn’t at finish recreation both. There’s an incredible quantity of labor being carried out within the house globally, so we’ll see 600, 700, and 800 Wh/kg batteries quickly sufficient.
So what claims did Boyle make? Properly, the primary is that present battery-electric semi vehicles have solely 150-330 miles of vary. That is outstanding when the Tesla Semi is already delivering vastly greater than this. Is Boyle unaware of the Tesla Semi’s precise vary in service with Pepsi? Or is he delivering stale or just deceptive knowledge to Congress?
Subsequent, he claims that huge semi vehicles would require two 8,000-pound battery packs, which is to say 7,273 kg. That’s an incredible quantity. As a ratio to the 625 kg 100 kWh battery pack in a long-range Tesla, meaning he thinks huge vehicles require 12 MWh of batteries to function. How a lot does the Tesla Semi battery have to attain 500 miles of vary? 850 kWh, about 14 instances smaller. The battery within the Semi is heavy, however nowhere close to 7,000 kg, and CATL’s introduced batteries would ship over 900 miles of vary for a similar weight. Even making an allowance for Boyle’s declare of 1,200 miles of vary for a contemporary diesel with Tesla’s present power density you wouldn’t get to the load Boyle claims.
One other declare Boyle made is that vehicles would take ten hours to cost. Provided that the Tesla Semi with the Megacharger can get well 70% of cost in half-hour, it’s additionally hyperbolic on Boyle’s half to assert that charging will take that lengthy.
Boyle additionally claimed that battery-electric vehicles would price $300,000 greater than new diesel semis. A mid-market semi prices $150,000, whereas the most recent information from Tesla’s delivered vehicles point out that they price $250,000. That’s a $100,000 distinction, which isn’t rooster feed, however is, as soon as once more a lot, a lot decrease than Boyle’s claims.
Lastly, Boyle claimed that electrical vehicles couldn’t get cheaper, which is a outstanding assertion. Why? Properly, he misrepresented how Wright’s Regulation or the expertise curve works, and even misnamed it. He referenced Moore’s Regulation, which is about computing and has little to do with manufactured objects getting 20% to 27% cheaper with each doubling of producing quantity. The costly half about electrical vehicles as of late are the batteries, not the remainder of the truck. And vehicles will share batteries with automobiles, ships, trains, and plane, so each doubling of battery manufacturing for transportation use circumstances will trigger the worth of batteries for vehicles to drop. Boyle’s assertion, or maybe pretense, is that with just a few hundred thousand vehicles yearly, the effectivity curve didn’t apply.
It’s troublesome to take Boyle severely when he will get so many issues so improper in entrance of Congress. And Congress folks appeared to assume he was an authority, versus a supply of great disinformation.
Earlier than articulating the one factor he will get considerably proper, let’s take the factor he apparently ignored in his statements, solutions, and the abstract article on the ATA web site — local weather change. Per the EPA’s current proposed Part 3 guidelines for trucking, transportation as a complete is 27% of whole US greenhouse gasoline emissions, and heavy obligation Class 8 vehicles symbolize 1 / 4 of that. Sure, huge rigs produce about 7% of whole US local weather change-causing CO2 emissions. That’s a giant wedge. Underneath the Part 2 guidelines, semis have already grow to be extra environment friendly, and common about 7.24 miles per gallon of diesel, up from beneath 6 a number of years in the past. The most effective maintained, effectivity fitted and operated vehicles are over 10 miles per gallon, and 9 miles per gallon is definitely achievable.
In truth, the Part 3 emissions requirements for the goal 12 months of 2032 quantity to precisely that, 9 miles per gallon, which represents solely a 19% effectivity achieve. Contextually, Class 8 vehicles run about 250 billion miles yearly within the US, at 9 miles per gallon and eight.89 kg of CO2 per gallon of diesel, that’s an allowance of 250 million tons of CO2 per 12 months for trucking. Not a lot of a win, is it? But that is what the ATA is complaining about exterior of Boyle’s Congressional hyperbole. No less than that assertion acknowledges greenhouse gasoline emissions, and the ATA does have a committee for local weather change.
So, the Part 3 proposals are fairly milquetoast, with the trucking business getting a decade to bolt on extra aerodynamics, put aspect shields between wheels for extra environment friendly operation, incent truck drivers to decelerate and drive extra easily, and enhance the upkeep of their vehicles. These are all extremely cheap actions, and the ATA ought to be thanking the EPA for this achievable purpose. As a substitute, in its formal assertion, it makes it clear that they assume draconian measures are being foisted on them with out dialogue, despite the fact that the Part 3 guidelines are proposals with plenty of public enter to come back.
So why was Boyle making stuff up about electrical vehicles in entrance of Congress, the place as an business skilled and a man who’s co-president of a trucking concern with round 90 vehicles and tens of tens of millions in income he ought to have been considerably correct? Properly, that’s all about California’s newish guidelines for Class 8 vehicles.
What are they? Again in September of 2022, California introduced that every one new vehicles offered within the state in 2040 and onward must be zero emission. Additional, by 2042, all fleets working in California must be zero-emission. So 20 years from now, all present diesel vehicles working in California must have huge batteries. And whither goest California, so goest the US, as California’s GPD is 12% of the whole nation’s. Trucking companies like Boyle’s small agency in Massachusetts would possibly be capable to ignore California’s guidelines, however huge nationwide companies like J.B. Hunt with its 12,000 vehicles and 100,000 trailers gained’t be capable to.
Is that this achievable? Properly, with the Tesla Semi working 500 miles with 81,000 lb gross car weight, and CATL batteries accessible this 12 months nearly doubling that, there’s little question that trucking companies can begin shopping for electrical autos from Tesla and different distributors this 12 months, and yearly change a couple of % of their fleets with battery electrical autos, and that by 2040, equal efficiency 1,200-mile vary Class 8 vehicles shall be current and low-cost. This isn’t even a stretch purpose.
Nevertheless, I did give Boyle one level, despite the fact that he vastly overstates it. That time is the present state of the US distribution grids for electrical energy the place semi vehicles might want to cost up. Delivering a MWh to a truck in half-hour and 5 MWh to 5 vehicles concurrently goes to be a problem within the hinterlands of the US. Nevertheless, between selecting targets of main interstate routes for electrical charging corridors first, beefing up the grids for these corridors, and clever use of more and more low-cost batteries to buffer truck draw, this isn’t precisely a stretch goal both.
Will each podunk place an electrical semi has to ship to have adequate juice to cost it? No, in fact not. However these locations don’t have to have the ability to replenish huge rigs with diesel proper now both. Apps like Trucker Path will add megachargers to their diesel stations that may match semis subsequent to pumps. With 1,000 miles of vary a simple goal, it’s not like vehicles must refuel each time they make a supply.
It’s clear that the trucking business within the US is doing what many main sectors are doing, attempting to make local weather motion another person’s downside. Properly, at 7% of US CO2 emissions, they’re far too huge a wedge to go away till final. Fortunately, there’s an upside for them. As I identified not too long ago when taking a look at US rail which is refusing to impress, one thing the remainder of the world is doing quickly, trucking will electrify, their working prices will plummet, and in the meantime rail shall be pressured into larger priced biofuels and artificial fuels. Consequently, the bizarre overuse of vehicles for freight in comparison with rail within the US will simply enhance. Electrification of trucking is an incredible strategic benefit, however you’d by no means understand it listening to the American Trucking Affiliation.
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