Big and medium-sized trucks make up just 4 percent of traffic on U.S. highways, but they're responsible for a whopping 29 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. So let's imagine the U.S. upgraded all those trucks to zero-emission electrics. Vehicle emissions and fuel consumption would both be slashed by more than a quarter.
We might be close to seeing more environmentally friendly semis, garbage trucks and buses on the road.
Nikola Motor Company has been working on the Nikola One, a zero-emission 18-wheeler that gets a range of up to 1,200 miles. It has a 1,000 horsepower engine, a 15-minute refill time and weighs less than many diesel semis. Construction on its network of more than 300 hydrogen-fuel stations is set to begin in 2018.
Nikola Motor plans to lease the trucks for $5,000-$7,000 per month, and some of the plans include unlimited fuel and free maintenance.
Wrightspeed makes garbage trucks cleaner and quieter. The powertrain company was started by Tesla co-founder Ian Wright, whose specialty is making big electrics more cost-effective. At least 15 Wrightspeed-equipped garbage trucks will be making the rounds in North Bay, California, neighborhoods by the end of this year.
A modern garbage truck typically costs around $500,000, but Wrightspeed says it can retrofit a truck with an electric powertrain for under $200,000. Wrightspeed also promises thousands of dollars in annual fuel and maintenance savings.