Market News

 February 22, 2012
Companies Could Save Tons with Electric Vehicles, MIT Study Finds

 If companies switched out gasoline-burning vehicles with new electric vehicles for their urban delivery fleets, a new MIT study has found that they could save some serious dineros.

"The study, conducted by researchers at MIT's Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL), finds that electric vehicles can cost 9 to 12 percent less to operate than trucks powered by diesel engines, when used to make deliveries on an everyday basis in big cities," the MIT News Office writes.

And, with battery costs continually coming down, "the case will only get better," says Jarrod Goentzel, director of the Renewable Energy Delivery Project at CTL and one of four co-authors of the new study.

The study also looked at potential savings if a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) system were implemented ("in which their batteries could be plugged into the electricity grid for 12 hours overnight, as an additional resource for providing reliable electricity to consumers").

"After running the numbers for various scenarios in which trucks are parked at slightly different times overnight, the MIT team found that businesses could earn roughly $900 to $1,400 per truck per year in V2G revenues in current energy markets, representing a reduction of 7 to 11 percent in vehicle operating costs." Nice.

Firms would also save money on fuel, and on maintenance, because electric trucks induce less wear and tear on brakes.

All told, the operational cost per mile --- the basic metric all fleet managers use --- would drop from 75 cents per mile to 68 cents per mile when V2G-enabled electric trucks are substituted for internal-combustion trucks. Moreover, as Goentzel notes, "almost all these costs scale down to the individual vehicle." Firms do not need fleets as big as 250 trucks to realize savings.

Yet again, we see that EVs are cost-competitive (well, cheaper) already. This apparently surprised some of the truck drivers, who have vowed to go electric and never go back.

Michael Payette, director of fleet equipment at Staples, found "no real surprises from a reliability perspective" and found that these findings matched up with his own, but said, "I was surprised by the drivers' acceptance, to the point where they do not ever want to drive a diesel [truck] again." Who would? (Oil trolls, please do not respond.)