If you’ve been to a gas station in the past few months, then you’ve felt the bite of energy volatility on your wallet. This is especially true for businesses who employ diesel terminal tractors. With diesel prices now up over 131% from 2020, is now the time to finally go electric with your yard trucks? There are a lot more factors to consider than just the pinch at the pump, and we’re here to break them down.
It’s no secret that the upfront cost of converting to an electric fleet can be almost double that of a standard diesel setup, especially when you consider the cost of charging stations and tools unique to the different nature of the equipment. So, is it really worth it? In the long run, the surprising answer seems to be “Yes.”
According to Fleet Equipment Magazine, “In a moderate two-shift operation, one diesel yard truck can operate 4,000 hours per year, generating diesel fuel costs of $28,000 (at 1.75 gal/hr and $4.00/gal) compared to an electricity cost of $3,360 for the electric yard truck (at 7 kWh/hour and $0.12/kWh). “
With those figures in mind, and with diesel currently trading well above $4.00/gal, that means the potential exists to save as much as $24,640 a year on a single truck. Although infrastructure and purchase price may remain a barrier to entry, extensive fuel savings and tax credits could make that breakeven date happen much sooner than you’d think.
There are other aspects to consider. If you look at maintenance and repair costs, you’ll quickly realize the most expensive repairs on diesel yard dogs tend to be damaged engines or transmissions, which simply don’t exist on electric yard trucks. Electric trucks also avoid Tier IV requirements, which means less emission control equipment, not to mention less state and local regulations and inspections, all of which quickly add up.
Also consider preventative maintenance, the time and cost of which shrinks with EV yard trucks (no more oil, belt, and coolant changes) as a variety of standard maintenance items vanish from the PM checklist. In a case study by Bolthouse Farms, the estimated maintenance savings for one electric yard truck for one year can be as much as $12,600.
What about drivers? While the cost savings continue to add up after your initial investment, do electric yard trucks provide benefits for your operators that diesel can’t? It might not be as simple to quantify, but your drivers get a quiet ride, no ambient engine heat, reduced vibration during operation, and cleaner air that isn’t soaking with diesel emissions. It may be hard to put a price on increased job satisfaction, but you can expect to see increased productivity and happier employees.
In the end, the familiarity of diesel trucks often hides the true cost of owning one. But regardless of which way you lean, Yard Truck Specialists is here to help you get the right vehicle for the job and assist in maintaining that vehicle for as long as you use it.