By Udita Shukla
A startup, based out of Los Angeles, namely Thor Trucks, recently rolled out its new electric truck prototype, which is known as ET-One. The product has already garnered considerable attention from industry players, as it is being touted as a rival to Tesla’s semi-electric truck.
Specifications of ET-One
ET-One boasts of a range of three hundred miles for a single charge of its lithium-ion battery. Moreover, it can carry 36,287 kilograms, with a top speed of seventy miles per hour. The model is equipped with the technology of regenerative braking. Regenerative braking is a popular option these days as it captures the kinetic energy of the car and directs its conversion to chemical energy stored in the battery.
Although the electric truck is meant for short trips (given the battery-range of 300 miles), industry corridors are abuzz with a possible introduction of a 500-mile version in the future. Additionally, Thor is pitching its product on the statistics that ET- One is about sixty percent cheaper to maintain per mile when compared to a similar diesel truck. Couple this with the absence of exhaust emission (as in diesel vehicles), ET-One is good to go.
The current state of automotive industry
The automotive market is crowded with startups and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) vying for a sizeable portion of the emerging EV sphere. Thor has created waves among automakers with its in-house battery production and unique powertrain technology. The motor used in the vehicle has been sourced from the supplier, TM4, while, the chassis comes from a Navistar commercial truck.
The co-founders of Thor Trucks, Dakota Semler and Gio Sordoni, are reportedly in search for commercial partners to expedite the process of bringing the vehicle to market. According to Sordoni, “There’s been smoke and mirrors in this space and a lot of buzz. We want to be mindful about how long it takes to engineer hardware that’s super safe and effective.”
The electric truck is expected to be available by 2019, at an approximate price-range of USD 15,000 to USD 250,000. Currently, limited fleet demonstrations of the model are available in the United States.
The strict norms
The global automotive industry has witnessed a major push from governments towards electric and hybrid vehicles. For instance, the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) has now made it mandatory for passenger vehicles to be tested on real-driving data for CO2 and other pollutant emissions. The regulations stipulate that emission levels must not be breached irrespective of the geographical region the vehicle is driving in. This means the norms remain same for all kinds of terrain, climate and population density in general.
Apart from the stringent WLTP norms released by the EU, there are some Nordic countries which plan to levy taxes on the end consumer in case their private vehicle violates the stipulated emission norms. Moreover, China requires automakers to list out the emission levels of N2O in addition to CO2, CO, NOx, hydrocarbons and methane, particulate matter (PM) and particle number (PN). Although the upfront cost of an EV currently stands much higher than its fossil fuel-powered counterpart, it follows a more economical curve and better RoI (Return on Investment) in the long run.
Bottlenecks and future trajectory
One of the outstanding roadblocks to the mass adoption of the electric vehicles is the inefficient range and dearth of a consolidated charging infrastructure. Fortunately, with the advent of the new wireless dynamic electric vehicle charging (DEVC), adoption of EVs (electric vehicles) is expected to gain speed. The DEVC technology is currently being tested on special-built tracks in France. The project, worth over USD 10 million, is majorly funded by the European Commission. Moreover, the initiative is being managed by 25 organisations across nine European countries including car-makers, suppliers, and automotive research groups. The test track, built by VEDECOM and integrated with Qualcomm’s technology, will witness trials until December 2017.
According to a leading market research firm, Mordor Intelligence, the global electric vehicles market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of thirty-one percent from 2017 to 2022. The next few years will certainly see a number of established auto giants as well as nascent players battle for the leading place in the EV segment. This would be majorly evident in the space of fleet vehicles which mostly runs on economies of scale and fuel efficiency. Which industry player will lead the pack remains to be seen!
Featured Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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