New Mandate Will Be The Death Of Trucking Companies

Logistics companies in California are growing increasingly concerned about the upcoming deadline for zero-emissions vehicles. Starting from January 1, 2024, all newly purchased trucks for distribution centers, ports, and rail yards must be zero-emission models. However, several challenges have arisen, including the limited availability of electric trucks, high costs, and inadequate charging infrastructure.

Limited Availability and High Prices of Electric Trucks. One of the main concerns for logistics companies is the scarcity of electric semi-trucks. The few available options come with exorbitant price tags, causing worry within the industry. Moreover, these trucks have a limited driving range, which means they can’t cover long distances on a single charge. Additionally, the lack of dedicated charging stations near ports further complicates the issue of keeping these vehicles charged. Waiting times for charging ports may increase due to multiple trucks vying for limited resources, leading to higher operational costs and longer wait times.

Uncertainty in Maintenance Costs. Logistics companies are also grappling with the unknown costs associated with maintenance and replacement parts for electric trucks. Presently, maintenance is a significant expense for diesel trucks, but companies lack information about the maintenance costs of newer electric models. Some estimations suggest that maintaining electric trucks could be ten times more expensive than their diesel counterparts. Nelson Sibrian, the owner of Sibrian Trucking, voiced his concerns, stating that the lack of concrete figures regarding maintenance and replacement costs is troubling for the industry.

High Costs and Supply Issues. The price of electric semi-trucks is another worry for logistics companies. Currently, these vehicles can cost around $500,000 each. Unlike traditional trucks, where fleet owners have various manufacturers to choose from, electric trucks are harder to find and often back ordered. This limited availability poses a challenge even for those willing to invest financially in electric vehicles. The demand is expected to surge once the mandate takes effect, with approximately 10,000 drayage trucks for ports and rail yards being replaced annually. Vehicle manufacturers might struggle to keep up with such high demand.

Weight Limits and Travel Range Limitations. Weight limits imposed by the large battery size of electric trucks can harm profitability. For instance, Tesla trucks have batteries weighing around 10,000 pounds, forcing them to carry less cargo to comply with weight regulations. This reduction in cargo capacity affects profit margins, as fully loaded trucks are known to increase earnings. Moreover, concerns have been raised about the safety of lithium batteries, as fires could pose significant public safety risks. Additionally, electric trucks have limited travel ranges. While diesel trucks can cover 1,000 miles before refueling, the current top electric semi-trucks can only go up to 300 miles before needing a recharge, with some models only capable of approximately 100 miles.