An electric truck is a commercial freight vehicle powered by a battery. It is used to transport cargo in the freight and logistics sectors. There are different ways to power electric trucks: charging the battery via electricity, swapping the battery and through electrified road systems.  There are different size electric trucks, this article will focus on the small-medium range.
This article will focus on electric trucks that are charged from the electricity grid.
When considering an electric truck, operators will need to consider:
- difference between petrol, diesel, and electric trucks in payload and tare weight
- upfront purchase costs, operating costs and total cost of ownership
- charging management
- fit for purpose model availability
- existing fleet duty cycles
- staff training including management and upskilling
- energy generation
- vehicle route optimisation
Benefits of electric trucks
- Environmental – lack of tailpipe emissions reduces greenhouse gas and other noxious emissions, allowing organisations to meet their carbon emissions mandates and .
- Health – lack of tailpipe emissions reduces air pollution and electric drivetrain limits noise pollution. Lower cab vibration and lack of petrol fumes reduces driver stress level and improves general well being.
- Economic – the whole-of-life cost of an electric truck is lower than a petrol or diesel equivalent. 
- Operational – vehicles may be used outside of curfew due to reduced noise pollution
Challenges of electric trucks
- Charging infrastructure – electric trucks will require installation of charging infrastructure and therefore additional investment.
- Economic – the capital cost of an electric truck is higher than a petrol/diesel one and limited data to account for the predicted residual value of an electric truck. 
- Electricity demands – electric trucks will increase demand on electricity and require improved demand management, storage and new electrical charging infrastructure. The speed of charging also needs to be considered depending on duty cycles and route scheduling. 
Charging an electric truck:
Charging an electric truck will require installation of charging infrastructure at depots (for back to base models) or along truck routes (for end to end models). The charging scheme required for electric trucks will depend on the operational scenarios for fleets, which include delivery routes and schedules.
Depot based charging
A depot based charging model will see an electric truck start and end its route at the same place – making it possible to charge the electric truck while it is not in use. Many truck operations have defined cycles that permit off-cycle daily charging. A depot based charging model ensures that charging infrastructure is an invested asset that gives the company control over site access, charger type, placement and timing. 
There are different levels of charging infrastructure that may be necessary for an electric truck fleet. The charging level will determine the speed at which an electric vehicle is charged. The level of charging infrastructure will depend on each fleet’s duty cycles and route scheduling.
High-speed charging requires high-capacity production charging systems, which will create demand on the grid. Despite this, the batteries in electric trucks can be used as grid stabilisers when properly managed.
The depot based charging model is being more widely adopted in international markets. 
On route charging
Fleets with variable routes and no guaranteed return trips require public fast charging infrastructure to fulfil long haul freight demands. This method of charging will become more important to satisfy heavy truck and long haul freight routes as technology for the sector develops. However, these use cases are minimal at this point in time. 
Electric trucks in Australia
In Australia, electric truck use cases have been in the small to medium size commercial vehicle and garbage truck segments in metropolitan areas. The electrification of road freight is important to reducing Australia’s transport emissions (19% of total emissions), where road freight accounts for 38% (chart below). 
Case studies of electric truck fleets in Australia
|Ikea and distribution partners
New South Wales has been using ANC has been using three commercial electric trucks for last mile deliveries in NSW. Since March 2019,
Queensland-based transport and trucking operator All Purpose Transport has put its first electric truck in its IKEA operation in December 2019.
|Logistics giant Toll has deployed the all-electric Fuso eCanter at its Bungarribee distribution site in Sydney.
|In late 2019, Australia Post announced that it would be trialing the Fuso eCanter for use in the Sydney central business district. If the Australia Post trial is successful, the Fuso eCanter will become part of the Australia Post fleet.
|Cleanaway is a waste management company that is trialling an electric garbage truck in the western Australian city of Perth.
|WM Waste Management Services
|In early 2020, The City of Casey’s recycling of hard-waste is becoming carbon neutral with several new electric trucks joining the fleet at WM Waste Management Services as part of a new waste contract.