Battery electric transportation hasn’t seemed like a good fit for long-haul trucking. After all, the batteries are expensive and usually of limited range, while goods can be heavy and require sometimes multi-state routes. That’s why I’ve advocated for other clean fuel technologies like low-carbon biofuels and even hydrogen, if done right, for long-haul goods movement.
But maybe there is a solution for all-electric trucking: the tractor swap. As Green Car Reports covers:
The proposed tractor-swapping model calls for a truck with a nearly-depleted battery to pull into a station, where a fully-charged tractor would be waiting to pick up its trailer.
In a way, it’s similar to the current procedure of the Formula E electric-car racing series, where drivers swap cars mid-race.
Of course, companies have already tried battery swap for passenger electric vehicles, but gotten resistance from automakers who don’t like the most expensive asset in the vehicle tossed around by a third party. But the tractor part of a trucking operation is separable from the container, so this model could gain traction (no pun intended), particularly for relatively shorter shipping routes, such as out of the highly polluted ports in California like in Long Beach.
All in all, another example of the kind of innovation that this technology may unleash.