Why Diesel-Powered Engines Are Still The Strongest Bet for Freight Transport

You’ve all heard about the electric engines trying to enter the transportation scene as a viable alternative to traditional fuel. The electric engine has actually been around for over a century, but it has lost out to the internal combustion engine in a simple competition of power and fuel. Very few auto companies are still working closely in research and development of the electric motor despite its positive carbon footprint and eco-friendly reputation.

Is the electric engine the way of the future? It may gain in popularity for autos and recreational vehicles, but for long distance hauling and substantial loads, a gas/diesel-powered engine is simply more powerful, and therefore still necessary to transport heavy freight. Gasoline, with diesel following closely behind, is likely to remain the number one fuel used in vehicles for the foreseeable future.

Electric Engines’ Entrance into the Small Car Market

Electric engines are more efficient than internal combustion engines in terms of fuel consumption. They are able to travel about 40 miles on 11 kilowatt-hours (KWH) of electricity, which is equal to approximately one third of a gallon of gasoline. But what they lose out on is power.

The electric engine is great for cruising around town. The average American drives approximately 40 miles a day, which is within the range of most electric vehicles. But even these vehicles are reliant on gasoline. Newer models now have an onboard gasoline powered generator to provide electricity when the battery is depleted, so that the cars can travel greater distances. Electric cars without the gasoline generator can have too much of a distance limitation.

Why Fuel Still Rules for Freight Transport

There is no such thing as a free ride and batteries used in electric cars must be charged from electricity generated by burning fossil fuels, which in turn creates pollution. Carbon emissions are lessened but they are still produced.

Electric car batteries are quite a bit heavier than the traditional car battery. Several batteries must be linked together to deliver power. For example, a lithium-ion battery pack weighs about 1,000 pounds. Compare this to the average weight of an entire car which is approximately 2,690 pounds. This weight diminishes efficiency and performance.

Electric engines work well for the average American who just needs to commute to work or putter around town on errands. But the fact is that these electric engines are just not as powerful as a gas/diesel-powered engine to transport heavy freight. Electric engines are not an option for big rigs. So, unless the electric motor attains all the advantages of an internal combustion engine, chances are tractor-trailers will continue doing what they do best tractor-trailers will continue doing what they do best – taking the most direct route they can and practising fuel economy to lower their carbon footprint.