TIMOCOM 30.05.2024

Will an electric vehicle improve your road freight business?

Electric truck

Are electric trucks really more environmentally friendly than conventional vehicles? And will electric HGVs save your business money? With the introduction of new road tolls across Europe to encourage sustainable practices in road freight, we look at whether an electric vehicle is right for your business. 

Are electric trucks more environmentally friendly than conventional vehicles?

There were 59 battery electric trucks in the UK in 2019 with this number increasing to reach an estimated 1,175 units in 2026, which means they become the leading new energy trucks. While lots of companies are choosing sustainable vehicles and you may want to have a positive impact on the planet too, it also has to make sense for your pocket.

There are pros and cons to each type of vehicle which must be weighed carefully and it’s not simply a question of are electric trucks better than diesel.

  1. Electric trucks are powered solely or mainly by electric motors rather than engines, this means you don’t need fuel or as much of it which saves money. And while electric truck batteries must be charged, it can still mean lower operating costs and emissions compared to conventional trucks.
  2. Electric trucks are quieter which can be better for business because of the new noise pollution charge included in road polls across Europe.
  3. Compared to diesel commercial vehicles, electric trucks should have a lower usage impact and should last longer giving you better value for money.

And while electric trucks don’t need as much maintenance because they don’t need oil changes and have other parts like a conventional vehicle, the battery can be costly to change. Plus, they may not pull heavy loads as efficiently, which is a major consideration for your logistics business.

What are the advantages of electric trucks in road freight transport?

The environmental impact plays a central role when it comes to electric trucks. Electric vehicles run emission-free and have fewer parts that are susceptible to wear or damage than conventional trucks. This not only reduces maintenance costs, but also protects the environment. They are also cheaper in terms of operating costs because, as already mentioned, no petrol or diesel is required.

Other electric vehicle benefits include the below:

Enhanced brand image

Consumers are increasingly choosing sustainable brands, with more than 78% of respondents in a McKinsey study, saying that a sustainable lifestyle is important to them. This means they are choosing companies that act sustainably. Many companies have made sustainable claims, only to be called out and fined when this is not the case. This can lead to damaging your business’ reputation and losing custom.

However, when companies make ESG-related claims (environmental, social, and governance), they had on average 28% growth compared to products that didn’t make those claims. So, not only does being sustainable help your brand become more attractive to potential customers, but it can help grow your business.


Electric semi-trucks with a 375-mile range have been found to have a 13% lower total cost of ownership than a diesel model. This leads to a net savings of $200,000 over the trucks 15-year lifetime, according to a study by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. The initial cost of an electric vehicle for business is more expensive, but maintenance costs should be lower and therefore bring long-term savings. Not only that but measuring your carbon emissions (which electric vehicles reduce) can see you winning more business. Increasingly investors and tenders are asking for Scope 3 emissions and if you aren’t measuring these, you could find yourself losing business. Considering any subsidies for electric vehicles and the savings from not paying road tolls or paying a reduced amount, and an electric vehicle seems to be a better investment.

Environmentally friendly

Many cities are considering being CO2 free by 2030 which could make it extremely difficult to continue operating diesel vehicles since you will inevitably need to use these areas. You may already find that your clients are pressuring you to invest in low-emission vehicles to reduce toll costs and your carbon footprint. When you have to keep stakeholders and customers happy, this may make the decision easier for you to purchase electric vehicles instead of diesel.

Are electric trucks more environmentally friendly?

Electric vehicles have been found to cut carbon emissions by more than 15 tonnes of CO2 per vehicle per year. While there is obviously a carbon emissions footprint for using electric too, it seems electric trucks are better than diesel for this.

Are electric trucks more environmentally friendly?

Electric vehicles have been found to cut carbon emissions by more than 15 tonnes of CO2 per vehicle per year. While there is obviously a carbon emissions footprint for using electric too, it seems electric trucks are better than diesel for this.


What are the challenges of electric trucks in road freight transport?

Electric trucks can be significantly more expensive to purchase and are less available on the market. This is initially intimidating and makes it more difficult to find the right vehicle for your needs. Another factor that stands out negatively compared to conventional trucks is the shorter electric lorry range and the lack of a comprehensive charging network.

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Initial cost

The initial cost of an electric lorry was considerably more than a diesel vehicle. This is partly due to the cost of the battery for the electric vehicles. However, a study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) states the total operating costs of a battery-operated electric semitrailer tractor is at the same level as conventional diesel vehicles in Germany, France, and the Netherlands.

This should be the case for electric lorry prices in the UK in the coming years.

Charging network

The charging network in a lot of countries isn’t enough to support all electric heavy goods vehicles. However, by 2030, governments must provide at least 3,600 kW of truck charging capacity every 60 km in Europe’s primary motorways. While the transition to a better charging network is underway, it may not be as easy to charge vehicles as it is to pull up to a petrol station currently.

Electric vehicle insurance costs

At the moment, it can be more difficult to insure electric HGVs because it is harder to find a company who can do this and it can be more expensive. In the future, this cost should decrease because electric trucks don’t have any liquid fuel components, exhaust pipe, and have less risk of combustion. Although there have been some electric vehicle fires and the computer systems have broken, this doesn’t seem to be a major flaw in many of them.


5 important factors when considering electric trucks


For road freight transport, the range of electric vehicles is a concern. The electric vehicle battery life depends on various factors such as driving behaviour and temperatures. The electric HGV range can vary from 386 miles to 724 km and charging times also vary with some charging in under an hour, some in two hours.

2.Electric vehicle battery performance

Anyone who has ever had a smartphone knows how quickly the battery power of an electrical device can deteriorate. Since the drive battery is the most expensive part of an electric vehicle, there is great concern that something will break - especially after the warranty period has expired. However, many manufacturers still agree to replace individual modules. Unfortunately, many workshops are not yet suitably set up for this, which is why such work is often carried out by battery centres.

3.Environmental protection

The question of environmental protection also arises in connection with the drive battery of an electric truck. Especially in relation to their production and disposal. Lithium, cobalt, platinum, nickel, and graphite are required to produce the drive batteries. In principle, all these raw materials are available in sufficient quantities, but they require a lot of energy to extract them. However, batteries can be recycled - so it is still more sustainable than an internal combustion engine

4.Working conditions

Unfortunately, many of the materials required for the drive batteries of electric vehicles are still mined under unacceptable working conditions, for example through child labour - although there are increasing efforts to prevent this.

5.Electric vehicle trucking costs

As already mentioned, electric trucks can be more expensive to purchase than conventional vehicles - but cheaper to run and maintain. This depends on the driving behaviour and area of ​​use of your vehicles. It can be worthwhile to focus on careful driving behaviour and optimised route planning. And TIMOCOM's route and cost planning can help you.

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Electric trucks – is it worth buying?

There are several factors to consider when purchasing an electric truck. However, in the long term, such an investment can be worth it! Because once the electric truck has been purchased, it is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the alternatives.

To be able to use such a vehicle profitably in road freight transport, there must be sufficient electric lorry charging options and ranges, which are not yet available everywhere. The decision to purchase an electric truck depends on your requirements and if it is right for your business now or in the future.

Tram Trinh Thanh

Marketing Manager Northern Europe

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