The U.S. Congress just passed the most meaningful legislation on climate change in more than a decade. But, while meaningful, it unfortunately omits road freight, one of the most timely and consequential opportunities to reduce climate pollution, improve human health, and catalyze a new domestic industry. The new administration can correct this through future legislation that includes investment and policy support for the production, purchase, and charging infrastructure for a national transition to zero-emission electric trucks.
Unfortunately, while there is growing recognition of the important role of batteries in powering cars, buses, and delivery vans, there is still widespread confusion and misunderstanding about the potential for long-range, heavy-duty (i.e. big rig trucks that travel more than 300 miles in between refueling stops) battery electric (BE) trucks, often aided and abetted by misinformation from incumbents in the fossil-fuel and combustion industries. Even some clean transportation proponents don’t fully understand the viability and attractiveness of long-range battery electric tractor-trailers to replace our polluting diesel truck fleet.
The truth is that, with targeted policy support, both BE and fuel-cell long-range trucks can soon out-compete diesel on cost while providing massive benefits for public health and the climate.