SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Since 1991, Anthony Bridgeforth has been racking miles on big rigs transporting goods around the state. His fascination with trucks started from a young age.
What You Need To Know
- The California Air Resources Board is considering and working through a proposal that would ban the sales of new medium and heavy-duty combustion engine trucks by 2040
- The new rules would also force large trucking companies to convert their fleets into zero emission trucks by 2042
- Currently, there is very little available when it comes to heavy-duty electric truck options
- Volvo is the current leader and started producing its electric truck last year with a range of 150 miles
“You know, the smell of the diesel, you know, used to kind of turn me on when it comes to big vehicles,” Bridgeforth said.
He soon could lose that smell he knows so well, as the California Air Resources Board is considering and working through a proposal that would ban the sales of new medium and heavy-duty combustion engine trucks by 2040.
The new rules would also force large trucking companies to convert their fleets into zero emission trucks by 2042.
Currently, there is very little available when it comes to heavy-duty electric truck options. Volvo is the current leader and started producing its electric truck last year with a range of 150 miles. A range highly concerning to companies and drivers like Bridgeforth, who said he usually averages around 200 to 400 miles per trip, where getting to the destination on time means everything.
“A hundred and fifty miles, what? And then they have to recharge? I’ll stay in a diesel. Because that’s time,” Bridgeforth said.
The new laws would affect roughly 1.8 million trucks in the state.
As of late September, Volvo has sold 2,600 trucks worldwide. Volvo has announced a newer model they claim will have a 275 mile range and has already delivered several newer models to companies in the state.
Charging infrastructure along with the high costs of electric trucks are other concerns Bridgeforth and trucking companies have expressed the Air Resources Board.
Along with long charging times and charging station availability, companies said in California delivering to mountainous areas will also use up more power than flat roads, further diminishing the range of current electric trucks.
The cost of an electric truck at the moment, according to truck companies, is around $500,000 per truck. Even with rebates bringing down prices to between $200,000 to $300,000, it’s still twice as expensive for new diesel trucks.
But for Casey Fallon, who’s been with the electric utility provider SMUD in Sacramento for 10 years and is their vehicle fleet director, he doesn’t have the luxury of waiting till 2042 to electrify the company’s fleet.
The new laws would force government agencies along with large medium-duty truck companies like FedEx, UPS and Amazon to electrify their fleet by 2024 or 2025. Just like the big-rigs, Fallon worries about purchasing options to comply with the laws.
“If we could take away all the supply chain issues we have experienced the last two plus years with COVID, it would be a different story. I would be more confident,” Fallon said.
SMUD already has a large fleet of electric work cars and this year announced a partnership with truck manufacturer Zeus to test out their viability.
“I’m excited about it. This is brand new technology. They’re really building these as a start-up, as an electric chassis. I’m excited about the applications we’ve come up with,” he said.
Bridgeforth said he, too, is excited about the future.
“Very optimistic, because today you know you have to live on the cutting edge. You know whatever works,” Bridgeforth said.
And although he said he feels the little boy inside him will miss the smell of diesel, he’s ready for change.
As long as the trucks are up to the task and the infrastructure is in place to get Bridgeforth from point A to point B.