The trucking industry has a serious driver shortage, and operators are exploring all kinds of ways to improve driver recruitment and retention. Meanwhile, trucking industry trade groups are fighting tooth and nail against electrification. They might be surprised to learn that deploying EVs could be a major hiring advantage, because drivers love them.
In a recent Charged webinar, Dave Schaller, Industry Engagement Director at the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) presented 10 electric truck case studies—real-world examples of how companies are benefitting from deploying EVs.
Mr. Schaller has spoken with many truck drivers about their experiences driving electric Class 8 trucks, and found that, despite initial skepticism, they all love their EVs.
A driver for Pepsico told Schaller that she is “not terribly excited about new technology.” She hates getting a new smartphone and needing to learn new tricks, but said that, after a couple of days driving the Tesla Semi, she absolutely loved battery-electric trucks.
A UPS driver that Schaller interviewed said, “If you had asked me five years ago if I’d be driving an electric truck, I’d have said you’re crazy, there’s no way they can ever do it.” He’s now thrilled with his electric truck.
“Probably the most astounding comment came from a driver at US Food,” Schaller relates. “He looked right into the camera with me and said, ‘I hope I never have to drive a diesel truck again in my life.’”
Why are electric trucks so much more pleasant to drive? Drivers “really, really love the fact that these trucks are very smooth,” Schaller says. “You don’t have the shifting you would have with a typical 13-speed transmission. Truck transmissions have come a long way, but if you can go electric and never have to shift, never have your coffee cup (and you) rocking all day long, it’s a sensational feeling.”
“The fact that they’re quiet means that drivers can hear much more of the environment around them, whether they’re on the distribution center lot or in the city with sirens and things going on,” Schaller continues. “Drivers love these vehicles. Our industry has a driver shortage, so it’s a really crucial advantage.”
Source: Charged webinars