There is no denying that the haulage industry is at the start of a gradual transition towards fossil-free alternatives, but 2020 has seen some huge steps into making that transition sooner rather than later. 

Deloitte recently updated its market forecasting for the rapid increase of the global electric vehicle (EV) market by an additional 10 million to reach 31.1 million by 2030.

Even with the Covid-19 disruption, the total EV sales are still expected to reach 2.5 million worldwide in 2020. Whilst these figures represent all electric vehicles, it shows the demand, awareness and trust in this market has increased.

November also saw DHL, the global logistics giant launch their own 16 tonne electric Volvo truck for London deliveries. This electric truck can now be seen on the streets of London’s West End, as the government launches a consultation on longer, emission-saving HGVs.

This particular Volvo truck is not a one-off either, as the company announced that from 2021 onwards they will sell a complete range of battery-electric trucks in Europe for distribution, refuse, regional transport and urban construction operations. These trucks could travel up to 300 km on one charge depending on the battery configuration. In 2017, Tesla impressed the world with their Electric Semi announcement, but numerous delays meant production only started in late 2020, giving the competition plenty of time to catch up.

Change is coming

We can anticipate that most transport companies or subcontractors will make the change over to electric in considered stages; in reality, many of the bigger operations will end up with a mixed fleet of trucks powered by different fuels during this transition period.

With such an unavoidable change on the horizon, UK-based logistics companies that offer flexible road transport solutions need to start planning how and when this change will happen. For some end-customers, electric vehicles might give them an advantage in the market over their fossil fuel using competitors

The transition to more sustainable transport is coming, but EV manufacturers have to help make the shift as smooth as possible for haulage operators. For many, there will need to be an adjustment period. 

Reducing carbon dioxide emissions

Similarly, the infrastructure needs to be in place to support this rise in EV haulage vehicles. During the summer, the Guardian reported on a government strategy to reduce the majority of the carbon dioxide emissions from road freight by installing overhead charging cables for electric lorries on ‘e-highways’.

This new electric road system is estimated to cost around £20 billion and reach even the most remote parts of the UK by 2030. A report by the Centre For Sustainable Road Freight has backed the move suggesting that it will pay for itself within 15 years.

Ultimately, the solutions offered by both the EV manufacturers and government must allow hauliers to achieve the necessary levels of profitability and productivity.

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