SUNNYVALE, Calif – Peterbilt has been working on electrified vehicles for decades. There was a series electric hybrid tractor unveiled in 1998, followed in later years by parallel-electric hybrids, and a parallel-hydraulic hybrid. When the Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE) […]
Electric trucks seem to be all the rage today, just as natural gas was to be the industry’s salvation just a few years back. There’s not much excitement in natural gas today, though it remains a viable alternative fuel. Electric trucks, on the other hand, are just beginning their climb to prominence. Interest in electric trucks peaked in November with the world’s first look at Tesla’s Electric Semi. Whether Tesla can carry the torch for battery-powered heavy trucks remains to be seen, but Elon Musk isn’t only player in the market.
Transpower’s electric Class 8 tractor uses a conventional drivetrain, but with a 400-horsepower electric motor. It has a range of up to 160 kilometers at full load.
I drove a fully electric plug-in Transpower USA Class 8 tractor back in 2015. That truck had been in field tests at the port of Long Beach, California, for two years prior to that. The company made headlines recently announcing a partnership with Meritor that will make its technology commercially available in the spring of this year.
True zero-emissions freight transportation is closer to reality than you might think. TransPower USA has five Class 8 tractors currently in service at the Port of Long Beach, CA. The company also has several yard shunt tractors and school buses in real-world service.
These trucks are not cobbled together McGiver jobs, either. They are highly engineered and look just like factory installations. These trucks could be the long sought-after solution to diesel emissions in areas with real air quality issues.
We recently had a opportunity to test drive one of these electric Class 8 trucks and found it to be a very functional alternative to a diesel tractor. We had the truck without a trailer, so we can’t report on its pulling power, but the company says the truck is powered by two 200-hp electric motors. That’s 400 horsepower, plus you get the benefit of the very high torque output of the electric motors.