There are more and more electric cars on the market as auto manufacturers move toward fleet-wide electrification. In the United States, pickup trucks are massively popular. The top three selling vehicles in the country are all trucks, led by the Ford F-Series. Thus, it is no surprise that automakers are now turning their attention to electric pickup trucks.
Some of the trucks are from established manufacturers like Ford and Chevy and others from new companies like Rivian. The Ford F-150 Lightning is bound to be a big seller. There are hundreds of thousands of pre-orders for Tesla’s exotic Cybertruck, now expected to enter the market next year.
A recent study looked at the environmental impact of pickup truck electrification. The central question is what does the transition to electric trucks mean for the overall decarbonization of the transportation industry?
Researchers from the University of Michigan and the Ford Motor Company conducted a cradle-to-grave assessment of the life cycle of pickup trucks and compared the implications of truck electrification to those of sedans and SUVs.
The study found that replacing an internal combustion-powered vehicle with a battery-powered vehicle results in greater total greenhouse gas emission reductions as the size of the vehicle increases, which is no real surprise considering how much more gas larger vehicles use.
The study also found that manufacturing electric vehicles produces more emissions than gas-powered vehicles, but the impact is offset by savings in their operation. Breakeven time is little more than a year.
Basically, the results are that replacing gas-powered trucks with electric trucks is even a bigger win for the planet than replacing gas cars with electric cars. Let’s hope we see plenty of electric trucks on the roads in the near future.
Study: Greater greenhouse gas reductions for pickup truck electrification than for other light-duty vehicles
Photo, posted September 22, 2020, courtesy of Steve Jurvetson via Flickr.
Earth Wise is a production of WAMC Northeast Public Radio.
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