“Trucks remain a major source of pollution that creates smog, and smog is linked with coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and can cause asthma and premature death.”
Paul Billing’s (American Lung Association)
Larger vehicles like trucks are responsible for a significant portion of transport pollution. This pollution affects both the environment and human health negatively. We rely heavily on trucks to transport our goods around the country. It’s not practical or financially realistic to build electric trains to transport all our goods. The next best thing is to look at how we can make our trucks more environmentally friendly.
Which Companies are Making Changes?
The issue is already being looked at and worked on by multiple transport companies across the globe, such as Tesla, Rivian, and Einride. There is a growing trend and expectation for big companies to change their delivery fleet to electric within the next five years.
Many have already started doing so, Amazon is in the process of creating a fleet of 100,000 electric delivery vans, in partnership with Rivian. UPS in the UK is moving towards a fully electric mail delivery service. They have already ordered a fleet of 10,000 delivery trucks through the electric truck company Arrival, which will be rolled out between 2020 and 2024.
Japanese design brand Muji has recently launched an electric autonomous shuttle bus. The Swedish company Einride has created autonomous electric logging trucks, which are already being used in Sweden. In the US Proterra is producing electric buses and school buses.
Another example of electric truck ingenuity is the Tesla Semi, as pictured at the top of the page. The Semi has a lot of great features, and best of all it uses less than 2 kWh per mile energy consumption. There are no doubt other companies competing with Tesla now too.
The future of trucks is electric. As it needs to be, in order to meet global emission reduction targets from the UN and individual countries. There is significant progress in many countries but we are still in the early stages, with trials and prototypes, especially for the autonomous vehicles. There are a lot of great things happening for the electric truck industry though, and we are very confident it is an industry that will continue to grow and thrive in years to come.
Truck Pollution Can Affect Covid-19 Mortality Rates
The symptoms of Covid-19 can be compared with the effects of smog in on our respiratory system. The rise in Asthma and lung conditions in polluted areas is very worrying. A new Harvard Study has made a connection between cities with smog and rate of mortality for Covid-19. The study found that cases of Covid-19 are higher and more deadly in cities with higher air pollution. Air pollution which is largely contributed to by the transport industry.
The mortality rate of Covid-19 sufferers went up by approximately 8% if they were living in a city with significant air pollution. Their lungs were no doubt already affected by the usual smog. Which in turn would make it harder to then cope with the added pressure on the respiratory system from the Covid-19 virus. Meaning they are more likely to succumb to it.
The Environmental Impact of Transport Pollution
Transport pollution, of which delivery trucks make up a decent sized chunk, is a serious concern worldwide. Transport is responsible for a large portion of all carbon emissions worldwide, alongside electricity and manufacturing.
Statistics and Image Credit: transportgeography.org
The next challenge will be to look at the source of the electricity used for cars and other modes of transport. There are concerns about the load on the national grid, and where the grid gets its power from. In countries like New Zealand 83% is renewable, from wind or water but there is a still a small percentage from coal and gas. Most countries are working towards that sort of balance at the moment as well, with majority renewable energy from natural sources. It is however still better environmentally to switch to electric vehicles, even if the source is not fully renewable, this is explained well by ‘Climate Explained’.
There are a lot more electric cars and trucks in production, and on the road now than ever. But in order to make a big enough positive impact in the current climate crisis we still have a long way to go. We need clean electric vehicles now, more than ever. The impact of transport pollution on our health and the health of the planet is simply too great to ignore.