Emissions from diesel engines harm human health and even contribute to premature deaths. They also contribute to climate change. These statements are facts, supported by much scientific evidence. There are two citations linked below, but this post is not about all the supporting evidence, it’s about the solution — electrifying transportation.
“The study projects that by 2040, 183,600 people will die prematurely each year due to diesel vehicle NOx emissions unless governments act.” The source is Colorado State University.
Children may be more vulnerable to health problems from diesel exhaust, “That level of higher pollution was linked to county-level increases of nearly 2% in low birth weight and more than 1.5% in infant mortality. Children’s asthma also worsened, with an 8% rise in children’s emergency room visits for asthma in the subsample of 5 states.” The source is the University of Pennsylvania.
Again, there is so much information on the subject matter that entire books could be written, but this post is about sustainable transportation. In particular, getting rid of diesel tractor trailers is a priority because they generate a great volume of toxic air pollution.
Recently, the multinational manufacturer Mars Inc. partnered with the freight technology company Einride to add 300 electric heavy-duty trucks to the Mars European fleet. Bjoern Anderseck, Mars Global Supply Chain Transformation Lead, answered some questions about the new trucks for CleanTechnica.
Why 300 electric trucks, instead of 100 or 200?
We did a full lane-by-lane route assessment with Einride to help us build our Mars Europe electrification roadmap and based on this data, we calculated that 300 trucks are needed to electrify those lanes. It is an ambitious figure, but we know that we can make a meaningful difference to our road logistics emissions in the coming years.
The first two are the Mercedes eActros 300 Tractor — will they all be this same model?
Not necessarily — depending on the specific route, the tractor will be selected independent from specific original equipment manufacturers.
What is the range of the Mercedes eActros 300 Tractor, battery size, and battery chemistry?
Battery range in an electric truck can be affected by many of the same factors that affect fuel consumption in a diesel engine – e.g. route type (if the route is uphill or involves a lot of highways), speed (the faster, the more energy the battery needs to provide), load (the heavier the load the more energy consumed), driving style (heavy use of the accelerator or brake pedal will consume more energy). Depending on truck model and use case scenario ranges can reach up to 220 km.
Battery use is directly related to its lifespan. On average, batteries are used for 8 years on our electric trucks before starting their second life, which can give them additional 10 years. Einride conducts continuous research on battery management and optimization to increase life cycle.
How batteries are charged (fast or slow charge, full or partial charge, etc.) makes a huge difference for how long they last. Intelligent battery management through the Einride Saga platform is very important and a big focus for us, in order to keep the batteries going for as long as possible.
Einride takes a life-cycle approach to batteries and is actively researching alternative materials, recycling programmes and more to ensure the lowest possible environmental impact on its supply chain. Circularity and battery management are at the core of business with second-life and repurposing approaches to substantially extend battery use.
What is the weight of its maximum payload?
Maximum payloads differ with each hardware combination (tractor + trailer) as well as what is legally allowed gross weight per country level. For the first two vehicles in operation in Germany, the e300 with a 3-axled box trailer have a maximum payload of 23.5 tonnes.
Einride and Mars have installed four high power electric truck charging points so far, so what is the charging speed and how long does it take to charge a Mercedes eActros 300 Tractor? How many more charging points will be installed?
Einride is responsible for building out and operating the chargers that will support this fleet. The initial chargers in Verden and Minden are Kempower chargers, all powered by Einride Saga. Charge times are planned within Saga.
How many more electric heavy-duty trucks will be acquired and put to work in 2024?
We are learning as we go with the two e-trucks in Germany being the very first step of this partnership. More e-trucks will follow over the course of 2024 in the UK and the Netherlands.
Is it expected that using electric trucks will save money because electricity costs less than diesel fuel? If so, how much?
There is not a big difference between electricity and diesel price. However, electrical cars (especially with regenerative brakes) have a much higher efficiency than standard thermal engines (efficiency around 30% only) therefore making the price/km lower.
Will all the electric trucks have regenerative braking?
Is it expected that using electric trucks will lower operational costs because they typically have lower maintenance and repairs costs?
Mars is not able to share exact costs at this time, however, we can confirm that Mars Europe is committed to investment across its business in line with Mars, Incorporated’s ambition and Net Zero Roadmap. Globally, Mars is investing $1b over the next three years to drive climate action — from farm to table and pet food bowl, supply chain to store, and home to veterinary clinics. Part of that is transforming the type of transport and the energy sources used.
Will any of the electricity used in the electric trucks come from clean, renewable sources?
Mars and Einride have installed four high power electric truck charging points at its Verden and Minden sites to charge the e-trucks. From October 2024, we anticipate that we will be using renewable energy at both locations to charge the e-trucks — purchasing guarantees of origin to make sure that the electricity is coming from renewable sources.
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