It is very difficult to judge how soon the electric truck myth will become a reality. When it does we can be sure it will change the trucking world completely, but it may take some time here in Australia.
This particular truck is the Lion8 launched this week in Quebec, Canada and the announcement says the first vehicle will be delivered later this year. This is a heavy duty rigid coming from a manufacturer which already has a number of electric buses on the road in Canada.
Lion8 is 100 per cent electric powered and has a range of up to 400 km. This Lion project benefitted from the Quebec Government’s support to develop this innovative technology. The new truck is a result of the Government’s 2013-2020 Climate Change Action Plan whose budget is derived from a Canadian Government Green Fund.
This is zero-emission solution and it is estimated 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Quebec come from transportation, specifically from heavy-duty vehicles. As well as eliminating noise pollution, there is an 80 per cent energy cost reduction and a, claimed 60 per cent operational cost reduction. The company reckon the Lion8 components require very little maintenance which will, consequently, minimise its total cost of ownership.
There are already plenty of other players in the game like this Renault delivering fresh oysters to the restaurants of Paris:
The Daimler group have made some inroads with the Fuso eCanter in both Europe, Japan and the US. Here we see a non-trucking journo take to the streets with the truck:
From Volvo, there is the electric garbage truck, on trial in both Sweden and France:
The industry is trying to gauge how far we are away from the tipping point which will see electric trucks become ubiquitous. This is where Australia comes in. The bottleneck is likely to be battery development and production. A vital ingredient is the lithium in the lithium ion cells and Australia is already trying to ramp up production of lithium in the mining industry and looking to develop a lithium processing capacity in Western Australia.