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18 March 2024
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BEV truck trial data published

Battery Electric Truck Trial reveals real-world data on electric trucks' efficiency and range, highlighting factors affecting performance and total cost of ownership.

News

Real world data for transport firms wishing to migrate from diesel to electric trucks has now been published, following the recent Battery Electric Truck Trial.

The initiative, which ran from April 2022 to October 2023, was set up following an award of funding to Daf from Innovate UK and saw 20 Daf Electric LFs – a rigid 19-tonne battery electric truck equipped with a 250kWh battery – deployed to nine fleets. These were a mix of councils, NHS-associated and public purchasing organisations, with the vehicles completing nearly 21,000 journeys and travelling almost 287,000km.

Each vehicle was fitted with telematics technology to gather data and this was used to update a live feed of vehicle statistics on the BETT portal.

Throughout the trial, Cenex provided Daf Trucks with specialist support in the areas of independent trial analysis and dissemination, generating evidence to show fleet operators how electric trucks can cover real-world operations.

Factors affecting range

The overall average energy efficiency across all vehicles was 1.08kWh per km, giving a range of 270km on a full battery. To allow for deeper analysis, Cenex also split the journeys undertaken into three categories – urban, rural and motorway. Urban covers slower start-stop movements, motorway includes consistent high-speed driving, while rural driving sits between them.

Efficiency varied between 0.9km per kWh for urban driving and 1.2km per kWh for rural driving, which would give maximum ranges of 226km and 303km respectively.

The range of 270km is roughly around the range that Daf was expecting (280km), so it’s good these vehicles are meeting expectations,

said Chapa Chandrasekara, technical specialist at Cenex.

We found that you could regain around 25% of the energy used in the urban cycle through regenerative braking, so for every 100kWh used, you can get back 25kWh of energy back into the battery to use again.

As well as ancillary consumption varying in different temperatures, the efficiency of the propulsion system also varied considerably at different times of the year.

The trial found it dropped by around 30% in winter compared to summer. Batteries tend to be less efficient in colder conditions and this could account for some of the loss, says Chandrasekara, but wind, rain and colder, more dense air all increase rolling resistance and drag which increases energy consumption.

Total cost of ownership

The TCO model showed that if electric trucks were frequently recharged at public charge points, their high electricity tariffs would yield an additional annual cost of around £10,000 per vehicle compared to diesel, while the additional annual cost would shrink to £2,000 per vehicle if charged only at the depot.

Reasonable electricity tariffs for both depot and public charging are required for electric trucks to at least achieve TCO parity compared to diesel, or to achieve savings depending on diesel prices,

says the report.

A mechanism to avoid large fluctuations in charging tariffs may be required in the future to provide confidence and security to fleet operators and organisations to invest in BEVs. This could either be a policy-related instrument implemented by the government, or charging providers would need to absorb costs while providing a stable price to fleet operators, or a combination of both.

End

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