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Wrightspeed’s Ian Wright set to Electrify Trucking


fedexIan Wright, one of Tesla Motors’ co-founders, is setting his sights on transforming the trucking industry.  He and his company, Wrightspeed, are set to electrify trucks, and not just one truck at a time.

Elon Musk and company have transformed the way we view electric vehicles.  From glorified golf carts, we now see them as zippy and sexy eco warriors on the road.

It makes much more sense (economically) to go electric with trucks than with the family car.  For one thing, they’re on the road more often.  “Family cars burn about 600 gallons a year. If you make that [car] electric you are going to add $15,000, at least, to the cost of that car and maybe only save $1,500 [in fuel]. So maybe a 10-year payback.

If you you go to garbage trucks they are burning maybe 14,000 gallons a year, so you can save $35,000 in fuel and $20,000 in maintenance.” according to Wright.  In other words, it will help truckers save moolah, and a whole lot of it.

And that is what will help truckers make the switch.  Though the stereotype trucker that is uncouth and messy is far from the norm, any trucker worth his money would jump on the chance to save on fuel, and maintenance, and downtime.

The conversion cost, though, may be a major roadblock for Wrightspeed.  Wright admits that the system is not cheap, but the payback period is short enough that truckers who push pencils will soon be buying these systems by the truckload.

And so they are.  FedEx is set to move our world and at this time are converting 25 of their trucks to electric.  I guess that it is about time that our world be filled with electric trucks.

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  1. Roswell efforts.

    There is however, one principle that remains. Close to 100% of EVERYTHING is brought to market via a Diesel (even EV’s). There is obviously (in this money/profit crazy world) a very good reason that Diesel has become the mainstay that it is. So hats off to Rudolph and Nikola, for they, in today’s world, would see no need to further develop lithium ion products, because the same Post-Roswell technical knowledge that ALLOWED the development of the “EngineMotor” can be applied to the development of a new class of Diesel Generators (basically a ‘motor’ reversed), that for ‘peanuts’ should support/run EngineMotors and replace/augment whatever corresponding lithium ion battery are needed.

    I say peanuts because Rudolph’s invention was introduced, running on peanut oil. Diesels were ‘converted’ to run off of the petroleum by-produces of gasoline refineries.

    Further, the challenge of hauling around a 4 people (domestic load) over relatively short distances is a bit different than hauling a thousand(s) pound (commercial load) over great distances – on merit alone.

  2. UPS already have electric vans for city deliveries here in Toulouse, France. Converted too, 60 kW and 75 km range, which is not much, but probably enough for their rounds.

    Still, converted vehicles are extremely expensive, compared to much lighter vans designed from scratch for electric engines. I would buy an electric van in a snap, I need both a small and large van for country to city deliveries, and diesels are just too expensive in the medium run. More and more cities are also pushing laws to limit circulation to non-polluting vans, so it’s coming to us whether we like it or not. (And I like it.)

    Electric cars should also be the default in cities. Especially in France, where more than 50% of cars are diesels. When they all start off cold in the morning, it’s not just a pollution peak, but it also wakes up all the neighborhood! 😉

    I believe all garbage trucks here are using LPG, they are certainly not diesel, much too silent for that. EVs are probably the next step for them. But I don’t think we’ll see electric long distance hauling trucks for a while. LPG sounds like a better replacement for diesel trucks, but we’d have to stop burning it for electricity and use solar instead if we want it to be available to fuel trucks. The only practical way we could use electricity for long distance hauling is to develop electrified railroads. I don’t see that happening anytime soon in the U.S.


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