E-Force, headquartered in Switzerland, has created an 18 ton electric truck specifically designed to replace the diesel powered urban and inter-urban delivery trucks that deliver most of the food and consumer products we use every day. It calls it simply a better truck. No diesel emissions, no particulates, no fumes, and no odors. What’s not to like?
The company says, “The E-FORCE is equipped with advanced technology that makes it practical for everyday use. It uses innovative design and intelligent control systems. (Translation via Google.) In addition to having zero emissions, the E-Force is quiet in operation, making it ideal for use in residential neighborhoods.
Low operating costs result from the use of electric power, which is up to 97% efficient. A traditional diesel engine is only about 35% efficient. Electric vehicles also benefit from low maintenance costs because they have far fewer moving parts to wear out. They often benefit from lower taxes or other financial incentives as countries endeavor to make them more appealing to fleet operators. For instance, in Switzerland the E-Force is exempt from the Heavy Vehicle Fee assessed on all diesel powered trucks.
The E-Force uses between 80 and 110 kWh of electricity per 100 kilometers at highway speeds. A normal diesel truck would need up to 4 gallons of fuel to go an equivalent distance. In the city, the numbers are 60 to 90 kWh per 100 kilometers. It has a range of 300 kilometers, which means it can travel within a radius of 150 kilometers from its home base.
Squeezing an extra mpg or two out of a Prius is all well and good. But the real benefits to society from electric vehicles will be gained from replacing diesel powered heavy trucks and buses with electric vehicles. The E-Force is one of the first heavy duty vehicles with electric power commercially available anywhere in the world.
Perhaps it will inspire similar vehicles for the US market in the near future. Cummins is working with several partners to bring a plug-in hybrid system to market for Class 6 trucks, which have a GVWR of 26,000 lbs. There are no larger trucks like the E-Froce slated for introduction in the US any time soon.