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Once upon a time, the technology side of this industry was pretty quiet. Breakthroughs were few and far between on the hardware front, and of course there wasn’t a software front at all back in the 1970s and early ’80s. People spec’d their diesel of choice, stuck an Eaton Fuller transmission behind it, chose a hind-end ratio and that was pretty much that, a combination that demanded relatively little thought. You wanted 300 hp? Maybe 400? A 9-speed box? A 13-speed? Easy peasy.
And while spec’ing an “ordinary” diesel-powered truck today is in some ways even easier because of vertical integration, there’s now an astonishing array of safety and connectivity options to make things immensely complicated.
But is there an electric option in your future? Yes, for sure, if you’re talking about solar power to run a reefer and/or hotel loads. I think solar is on the march, and in fact I’m surprised it isn’t already a bigger player in the broad effort to trim fuel costs and reduce emissions. I think we’ll soon hear some big announcements about solar, and I know one guy who swears he can double the range of a Nikola fuel-cell truck by plastering the roof of its trailer with solar panels.
Will you be buying a plug-in electric truck? Not any time soon – unless you’re talking short local hauls, in which case you already have options in BYD tractors and the nifty little Fuso eCanter truck.
“While electrification has tremendous promise, it’s not the answer for everyone right now,” said Cummins in a recent statement. It introduced its own all-electric drivetrain in a demo truck called AEOS a few months back. “We believe electric vehicles make the most sense in urban areas where the drive ranges are shorter and the vehicles can more easily