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Electric Trucks Make Sense for Regional Haul

February 23, 2020 —Atlanta, Georgia — Since 2009, the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) have been working with the trucking industry to increase confidence in energy-efficient technologies and practices, as well as guiding fleets as they adopt disruptive new technologies. Through its extensive work on regional haul and electric trucks, NACFE has discovered that regional trucking operations are well suited to be early adopters of electric trucks, and the two organizations are now beginning specific work to identify opportunities and address challenges.

“Our research has shown us that regional haul is an important segment of the trucking industry and also one that makes sense for electrification, given its short-haul nature and return-to-base operation,” said Mike Roeth, NACFE executive director.

Because trucks need to be able to travel long distances, carrying heavy loads, day after day, electrification presents unique challenges to both the vehicle and its charging infrastructure. Together, NACFE and RMI will focus on this complex issue, working on four complementary workstreams:

  • Identifying high-potential regional trucking routes in concert with changes to freight movement;
  • Supporting the implementation of initial and future deployments outside of California;
  • Scaling best practices in infrastructure development for fleets and communities; and
  • Increasing confidence in the value of electrification.

“Electrification of heavy transport is critical to the energy transition, but it’s not an easy road,” said Dave Mullaney, head of RMI’s Heavy Transport initiative. “This is arguably one of the biggest challenges utilities and fleets will face in the coming decades. This problem is solvable, but it requires someone to lead the charge. RMI is excited to partner with NACFE on this important work.”

Specific activities for 2020 will include data analysis, interviews with key stakeholders, collaboration workshops and publishing findings in order to share learnings with all interested parties. This will build on NACFE and RMI’s existing work in this area, including Run on Less Regional, their thought-leadership piece on regional haul, and the Guidance Report series on electric trucks.

Roeth explained that the success of this effort will depend in part on collaboration. “We need people to engage with us by attending our workshops, sharing their knowledge about regional haul and/or electric trucks, or by helping fund this critical work.”

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About Rocky Mountain Institute 

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)—an independent nonprofit founded in 1982—transforms global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. It engages businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs to accelerate the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing. 

About the North American Council for Freight Efficiency 

The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to doubling the freight efficiency of North American goods movement. NACFE provides independent, unbiased research for the transformation of the transportation industry. Data is critical and NACFE is helping the industry with real-world information that fleets can use to take action. In 2014, NACFE collaborated with Carbon War Room, founded by Sir Richard Branson and now a part of Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), to deliver tools and reports to improve trucking efficiency. These reports include a series of Confidence Reports that detail the solutions that exist, highlight the benefits and consequences of each, and deliver decision-making tools for fleets, manufacturers, and others. As of early 2018, NACFE and RMI have completed 16 such reports covering nearly all the 85 technologies available. NACFE also is doing work on guiding future technologies, and has already published four Guidance Reports on commercial battery electric vehicles. In 2020, the organization will focus on electric vehicles in regional haul. All reports are available at