Ryder System, Inc. released a quantitative analysis of the potential economic impacts of converting commercial diesel vehicles to electric vehicles (EV) in today’s market, entitled “Charged Logistics: The Cost of Electric Vehicle Conversion for U.S. Commercial Fleets.” Ryder is one of the nation’s largest trucking and logistics companies, with more than 260,000 vehicles in their fleet.  Despite EV technology and charging infrastructure still developing, state and federal legal requirements are forcing a transition to zero-emission trucking fleets, which will require increased expenditures that will be passed through to consumers. The Ryder study considers 2 geographical areas: California, which typically has the highest fuel, electricity, and labor costs in the country, and in Georgia, where costs are generally lower. According to the study, the annual total cost to transport by EV versus diesel is estimated to increase across the board – ranging from up to 5 percent for a light-duty transit van to as much as 114 percent for a heavy-duty tractor. And, for a mixed fleet of 25 light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, the analysis shows an increased total cost to transport of up to 67 percent for an all-electric fleet. Based on a mixed EV fleet, and assuming companies pass the increased total cost to transport on to consumers, Ryder estimates those increases could cumulatively add 0.5 percent to 1 percent to overall inflation.

Ryder examined the total cost to transport for diesel engines versus electric technology in the light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicle classes. The analysis is based on representative network loads and routes from Ryder’s dedicated fleet operations, which includes more than 13,000 commercial vehicles and professional drivers. It factors in the cost of the vehicle, maintenance, drivers, range, payload, and diesel fuel versus electricity, and accounts for EV charging time and equivalent delivery times. The analysis also assumes the accessibility and use of the fastest applicable commercial vehicle chargers, despite the network infrastructure not yet constructed.

Ryder conducted comparisons for diesel and EV transit vans, straight trucks, and heavy-duty tractors, using cost assumptions from California, which typically has the highest fuel, electricity, and labor costs in the country, and in Georgia, where costs are generally lower.  Ryder also applied the individual costs to a fleet of 25 vehicles of mixed classes and types and compared the cost of owning and operating that fleet in California and Georgia. The fleet mix is based on the overall mix of commercial vehicles in the United States, according to data from Polk Data Services, and includes 11 light-duty vans, four medium-duty straight trucks, and 10 heavy-duty tractors.

Results for California

For California, comparisons of various classes and types of commercial diesel vehicles versus their EV counterparts show the annual total cost to transport for electric trucks and vans increases across the board.

  • A light-duty EV transit van (Class 4) has an estimated annual increase in the total cost to transport of approximately 3 percent or nearly $5,000. Vehicle cost increases 71 percent and labor cost increases 19 percent, partially due to more time required for EV charging, while fuel versus energy costs decrease 71 percent and maintenance cost decreases 22 percent.
  • For a medium-duty EV straight truck (Class 6), the annual total cost to transport increases to approximately 22 percent or nearly $48,000. The vehicle cost increases 216 percent, which is partially offset by a 57 percent savings in fuel versus energy and 22 percent savings on maintenance.
  • For a heavy-duty EV tractor (Class 8), the annual total cost to transport increases by approximately 94 percent or approximately $315,000. The equipment cost is the largest contributor, representing an increase of approximately 500 percent, followed by general and administrative costs that increase approximately 87 percent, and labor and other personnel costs that increase 76 percent and 74 percent, respectively. Fuel versus energy savings are approximately 52 percent. It assumes delivery times equivalent to a diesel vehicle and factors payload and range limitations as well as EV charging time – all of which requires nearly two heavy-duty EV tractors (1.87) and more than two drivers (2.07) to equal the output of one heavy-duty diesel tractor (which requires 1.2 drivers on average). This class of vehicles would include such vehicles as semis and cement trucks, which must be kept running to ensure cement is not being wasted.

Results for Georgia

In Georgia, the variance in total cost to transport for a diesel vehicle versus an EV is greater than for California. Operating electric trucks in Georgia results in a higher cost disadvantage than in California, because Georgia’s lower fuel and energy costs do not provide the same level of savings when transitioning from diesel to electricity.

  • A light-duty EV transit van (Class 4) shows an annual total cost to transport increase of approximately 5 percent or nearly $8,000. Vehicle and labor cost increases are similar to those in California at approximately 71 percent and 20 percent, respectively, fuel versus energy costs decrease 91 percent and maintenance decreases 22 percent.
  • For a medium-duty EV straight truck (Class 6), the annual total cost to transport increases to just under 28 percent or more than $53,000. The vehicle cost increases 216 percent, which is partially offset by a 60 percent savings in diesel versus energy costs and 22 percent savings on maintenance.
  • For a heavy-duty EV tractor (Class 8), the annual total cost to transport increases by nearly 114 percent or more than $330,000. Vehicle cost remains the largest contributor, representing an increase of approximately 500 percent, followed by other operating costs that increase 87 percent, and labor and other personnel costs that increase 79 percent and 76 percent, respectively. Diesel versus energy savings are approximately 48 percent. As in the case for California, this assumes delivery times equivalent to a diesel vehicle and factors payload and range limitations as well as EV charging time – all of which requires nearly two heavy-duty EV tractors (1.87) and more than two drivers (2.07) to equal the output of one heavy-duty diesel tractor (which requires 1.2 drivers on average).

Results for a Mixed Fleet

Ryder assumed a mixed fleet of 25 light-, medium-, and heavy-duty commercial vehicles operating in California versus Georgia, including the assumption that a company would need nearly two heavy-duty EV tractors and more than two drivers to haul the same load on the same route as one heavy-duty diesel tractor. In this case, a company converting 10 heavy-duty diesel tractors would need nearly 19 electric vehicles and 21 drivers to provide the same level of service. This increases the total number of vehicles in the fleet from 25 to nearly 34 and drivers from 27 to nearly 36.

  • In California, to convert a mixed fleet of diesel vehicles to electric would increase the total cost to transport by nearly 56 percent or more than $3.4 million.
  • In Georgia, the total cost to transport would increase approximately 67 percent or more than $3.6 million.

Conclusion

While the technology and infrastructure are still developing, and due to the wide cost gap for heavier duty vehicles, it is unlikely for many companies to make the transition to electric despite state and federal regulation calling for relatively quick adoption. Further, if forced to make the transition in today’s market, more supply chain disruptions, transportation cost increases, and additional inflationary pressure would result. Significant advancements in EV technology to improve range and payload, and nearly $1 trillion in charging infrastructure and power grid upgrades would be required to narrow the cost gap. When a new cost-effective technology is ready for the market, businesses will generally note the benefits and provide for broader adoption.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email