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Electric Vehicles in the Logistics Industry

Electric vehicles are becoming more popular due to the increased concern among corporate and industrial users about the environment and the pollution caused by combustion engines. Electric vehicles, as they use electricity stored in a battery which is charged at a terminal, have the potential to be more cost effective as well as efficient compared to fossil fuel powered vehicles as electricity becomes cheaper and more sustainable. However, the logistics industry, as a major player in supply chain efforts globally, still primarily uses vehicles with combustion engines. Since the environmental impact of corporate and industrial entities are much higher than individuals (even collectively, in many cases), the adoption of electric vehicles by logistics companies such as interstate transport services would be a substantial step forward to a more sustainable future.  This article will describe several reasons why electric vehicles are desirable and why they may not necessarily be suitable for the logistics industry in their current state.

A global logistics company in regular operation would consume millions of litres of fossil fuel annually. Electric vehicles, as they run on electricity, do not emit any pollution to the environment and are quieter in operation. They are also more efficient with energy waste very little energy due to traffic. All of this generally results in significant cost savings, in terms of regulatory pressure and environmental compliance concerns as well as operating cost. Additionally, electric vehicles contain fewer moving parts and are therefore easier to repair and maintain, and much more durable than combustion engines. Therefore, the burden on a logistics company in terms of maintaining a delivery fleet is significantly reduced through the use of an electric fleet.

The primary drawbacks with electric vehicles are their Price and Range. Electric vehicles are expensive, and for vehicles like cars, an electric car with the same performance of a similar combustion engine car is much more expensive. Electric cars are also limited by their battery capacities and can travel a much smaller range than a vehicle with a fossil fuel engine before needing to recharge. Unfortunately, for logistics companies, cost and range are one of their primary concerns. Replacing even a part of a fleet with electric trucks will be several times more expensive than the cost of the entire fleet in combustion engine trucks. Logistics companies are also routinely required to make multi-day trips of thousands of miles carrying heavy loads.

Therefore, to meet the needs of a logistics company, an electric truck would need a massive battery. This would result in the truck being heavier and limit the ability to carry heavy loads. The Tesla Semi, for instance, is infeasible for long distance trucking as to perform even comparatively to a combustion engine truck in terms of range, the weight of the battery would make the truck have less than half the capacity of a combustion engine truck.  The main concern a logistics company would have when selecting vehicles is their Load Capacity and this is severely lacking in modern electric trucks. Until battery technology improves energy density issues to a stage where a high capacity battery is not extremely heavy, it is likely that logistics companies will use combustion engines in their fleets.

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