By Jim Park
Determining the operating costs for electric trucks can be difficult because electric equivalents to “fuel economy” ratings are not published for commercial vehicles. Photo: TransPower
If figuring out fuel costs and operating costs for your diesel trucks makes you sweat, you won’t look forward to figuring out the cost of operating a battery electric vehicle (BEV).
The price of diesel is pretty stable compared to electricity prices and while diesel can fluctuate week to week, electricity can fluctuate hour to hour.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration report for May 2017 shows the U.S. average price for industrial consumers as 6.67 cents per kilowatt/hour. But like diesel, there are some significant swings in regional pricing. Parts of New England and California have the highest prices. The New England average for May 2017 was 12.33 cents, while California was 10.97. Washington State enjoys a price of just 4.58 cents per kWh.
Determining the operating costs requires that you know the vehicle’s kWh/100 mile figure. That might be challenging, as electric equivalents to “fuel economy” ratings are not published for commercial vehicles. The alternate method is to determine what it will cost to charge the batteries. You simply multiply the battery’s capacity by your local kW/h charge. For example, the battery capacity in the new Chanje V8070 is 70 kW/h. In Washington, it would cost $3.20 to charge a Chanje from zero. In Connecticut, where the industrial price is 13.2 cents, it would cost $9.24.
Earlier this year, Cummins announced plans to enhance its efforts to commercialize its electrification capabilities. The company has long been associated with power generation and motive systems for the rail industry. It has more recently been working to develop power systems for trucks, and in the course of that research, it has been modeling the cost of electricity at between 8 and 12