We hear the call for electric vehicles all the time, and the interest and market exist and continues to grow for these types of cars and trucks. But how feasible is it to see the electrification of semis anytime soon?

Tractor trailers are the backbone of this country and our economy. However, these mighty beasts can have a huge impact on the climate. Heavy-duty trucks produce over 70% of particulate pollution from vehicle worldwide.

Many trucks may cover hundreds, if not over a thousand miles per day. While others are hauling at a much shorter range. It’s these vehicles that may be more feasible for electrification than the long-haul trucks. They won’t require high-capacity batteries, nor will they need very fast public charging stations that are readily available.

What is unsure is whether the electric grid can handle a great many electric trucks charging simultaneously in one location.

Researchers modeled what would be required from substations to power all of these vehicles based on date from real-world diesel delivery fleets. They took the distance the trucks drove and how long they were parked at their home base to develop an estimate of the charging needs.

What they found was that 80-90% of the substations were capable of accommodating fleets of up to 100 trucks. There is a caveat, however. The vehicles would need to choose slower speeds to avoid stressing the grid and requiring upgrades to the substations.

In conclusion, researchers determined that electrification of these short-distance trucks may be quite reasonable. However, we may need to wait for battery technology to improve, and for researchers to conduct more studies on exactly what infrastructure is needed before long-range electric trucks can be adopted.