The Future of Trucking and Electric Vehicles

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Many people believe the safety of our highways depends on electric semi-trucks. The lawyers at Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP are hopeful that there will be less crashes between passenger cars and semis with this new technology. Here is what you need to know about this new innovation on our roads.

Electric Trucks for the Long Haul

Diesel semis are still common on the road, but EPA regulations are beginning to push certain companies to begin developing electric trucks. Electric trucks run off charged battery packs instead of fuel. Along with the environmental benefit, they cost companies less per mile for maintenance and fuel, though the initial startup may be more expensive.

Thor Trucks Innovation in Big Rid Trucking

Thor Trucks has taken this industry by storm. A startup in California is working to expand the electric truck business. The plan is to collaborate with established suppliers and manufacturers in the trucking industry to build the truck. They want to be able to create and sell trucks by 2019 that can go 100 to 300 miles with a full load starting at $150,000.

Thor built the first prototype on a conventional chassis. The chassis is fitted with an electric motor between the cab and the fifth wheel hitch. A pack of commodity 21700 battery cells powers the motor. It has an aerodynamic body with a shark nose grille.

Thor is planning to release their first trucks around the same time that Tesla is releasing their recent semi-truck, causing extra competition between them, Tesla, and other trucking companies.

Better Safety with Electric Semis

Electric car fires are one of the largest concerns about electric vehicles. However, electric semi-trucks are safer options than trucks run by fuel because there are far fewer electric car fires than gasoline car fires. Though numbers vary from year to year, an average of 200,000 gasoline car fires occur every year. They are so common that authorities tend to only report them in cases of fatalities or serious injuries.

In fall of 2013, Tesla published that the National Fire Protection Association reported 150,000 car fires annually. According to the Department of Transportation, Americans drive around three trillion miles each year. These statistics amount to one vehicle fire for every 20 million miles driven in the United States. According to their report, drivers are five times more likely to experience a fire in a traditional gas-driven car than a Tesla. Though not all electric cars are Teslas, it does suggest electric cars may be safer overall.

There are far fewer electric cars on the road, which skews their safety rating. In October of 2013, public data reported there were around 638 million miles driven by Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, and Tesla Roadster owners in the United States. These vehicles are just a segment of the electric vehicles people drive around the country. There have been five reported electric car fires on the road in the past three years, amounting to around one electric car fire every 120 million miles.

Electric vehicles are safer in general because of they aren’t as flammable as traditional gasoline vehicles. They are still dangerous, but the explosive nature of gasoline is a far more dangerous situation for drivers. Not only do fires happen less often in electric cars, but, when they do happen, they are less likely to be as fatal as gasoline fires.

Better Technology Means Safer Travel

Innovation doesn’t just make our lives easier; it tends to make them safer, too. While this technology is still in its early stages, experts tend to believe this will mean fewer consequences from road accidents. With less catastrophic collisions from semis, everyone else – from commuters to school buses – will be in less danger of injury when on the road.