How Long Will It Take to Switch from Diesel to Electric


Diesel fuel is expensive, so it’s no surprise trucking companies want to change how we power our vehicles. The best fuel alternative currently on the market is electric. Diesel is roughly $3.00 a gallon across the nation. Electricity, on the other hand, is $1.15 an “electric gallon”.

Needless to say, the transition from diesel to electric is coming. The only question is when.

Estimated Completion Date

Most predictions are basically “sooner rather than later”. Every major trucking company should be able to change their entire fleets by 2040. This estimate is based on analyzing the existing battery technology, the need for charging stations, as well as key milestones, such as Tesla Electric Semi’s being on the road next year.

An overnight charge for a car is typically sufficient for running errands all day. Or at least under 150 miles. Semi trucks will need much more fuel than this, especially for long-haul. And having to wait 8-hours to make that last 50 mile stretch is not worth the down time.

That said, manufacturers are working hard to shorten the gap. They are working on making a super-duty battery capable of going more than 300 miles on a single charge. This battery will hopefully be ready by 2025.

Once these batteries are in circulation, you can expect a quick acceleration in the transition from diesel to electric.

Refueling Stations and Mega Chargers

In the meantime, Tesla has started developing workarounds for the short battery lifespan. A statement was issued stating“mega-chargers” would be available for truckers across the nation. These solar-powered locations are projected to speed up recharging time to about a half-hour.

These mega-charging stations, though, would only be able to serve 6 large vehicles at any given time. And the price to build such a structure is likely to exceed $250,000, which may not be financially feasible in areas with little traffic.

Truckers unable to wait or make it to a mega-charger would have to seek out one of the regular 1,100 charging stations instead.

What You Need to Know

The change to electric is coming. With a fuel-saving financial incentive for business and better air quality and reduced carbon, electric vehicles will be a win-win.

Many states are already swapping public transportation vehicles to electric. It is likely semi-truck mandates will be issued too.

The good news for truck drivers is that electric vehicles are not the same as automation. That is a separate issue, and the technology for completely automating trucking simply isn’t ready. So if you can drive an existing tractor trailer, you won’t need to learn anything new except how to plug in an electric one.

When the time does arrive, truckers will find themselves pulling up to a mega charger station similar to how things are done today. And we’ll see that a lot more in the next 5-10 years.