Is this the future for Removals?
The current removal industry has barely changed over the past few decades. However, with the sudden increase and development in new battery technology, companies like Tesla are offering something new and bold; the world’s very first fully electric Truck! Is this the future for removals?
At time of writing Purdie Worldwide currently own and operate one electric vehicle. Our Nissan NV200 was bought brand new back in 2014, and has covered just shy of 20,000 miles in 5 years.
Although this has been a great and reliable van for us, it’s never really been involved in a full blown removal. We use it daily in order to carry out small “emission-free” deliveries; dropping off packing materials, collecting goods, or picking up staff or clients from the local railway station.
However, there are 2 major drawbacks with the Nissan, and they are both to do with range. When we first bought the van it’s range was well over 100 miles and you could happily plod into Edinburgh or Glasgow and have enough juice for the return trip. As the van gets older, so do the lithium ion batteries, and this has resulted in a range that is now less than half of what it was when we first bought it. So with a range of about 50 miles (if you take it slowly) the Nissan is now restricted to small trips about West Lothian. Another issue we face is with charging stations outwith our own; there simply isn’t enough of them……yet.
If we ignore the little man & vans and focus on professional removal trucks over 12t the majority of them are converted trucks, with the old curtain sider or similar box removed and a bepsoke removals body placed on top. Companies like Bespoke Bodies and Unique Van Bodies specialise in this type of conversion, and most of the removal trucks on the road have been converted by them.
So, although the main bodies of most removal trucks are specific to the industry, virtually all removal trucks are still powered by huge gas guzzling engines at the front. If you check out our fleet page you can see we have many different makes of trucks at Purdie Worldwide. The engines in these trucks simply dwarf the engines in a modern 2.0 litre petrol or diesel car, with our big Scania having an engine size of over 9 litres! This is great for sheer pulling power, but not great for MPG or the environment.
Our Scania D Class is a beast of a truck, capable of huge loads and towing an additional trailer unit for overseas moves. With it’s 9 litre Euro 5 engine it produces 320bhp and over 1500nm of torque with a maximum range of about 1000 miles. Unfortunately this is done at a gas guzzling 10 miles per gallon.
If we look inside the cab, this Scania looks pretty similar to most modern trucks, and even a regular car user would recognise what most of buttons and levers do. You have the main air-cushioned drivers seat on the right, with the old skool Scandinavian curved dash wrapping round the driver, and a small diagnostic screen in the middle. Gears are changed automatically, and the handbrake is no longer a mechanical lever on the floor, but a dash mounted switch for ease of use. All the usual truck mirrors are there for keeping an eye on blind spots, not forgetting the all important passenger sitting to the left.
The Tesla Semi is unlike any other truck on the road. With it’s central seating postion it’s aiming to set new trends in HGV safety, performance and economy.
Instead of powering just 2 wheels like a normal truck, the Tesla Semi provides over 1000bhp to all 4 wheels at once with all the torque you want available from 0rpm. This insane power results in equally insane performance, with Tesla claiming an unloaded truck would get to 60mph in 5 seconds!
On the safety front, the semi is very safe. All models of the semi will come with Autopilot, which will do things like automatic braking, lane assist and all the other Autopilot features. Not something you’d find on any of our current removal trucks.
The cab of a Tesla looks more like a spaceship than a truck. With a streamlined boat like front to reduce drag, it’s central seating position gives a commanding view of the road, with no news yet as to where a passenger would be seated. The standard mirrors you see on all gas powered trucks are gone and replaced with a total of 36 cameras, all instantly available to view across the 2 OLED screens that flank the Tesla branded steering wheel in the middle. A cup holder and other storage bin are the only other creature comforts on show in the cab from the initial pictures. However, you can be rest assured that given the amount of updates and fun Tesla car owners currently have with their Tesla systems, I’m sure the semi version will be no different.
This leads us onto the big question: Is it actually more economical? Tesla claim a range of 400 miles with the ability to recharge to 80% capacity in 30 minutes. If the plans go ahead for the Megawatt charger stations across the UK then I can see there being very little problem with range, as many drivers spend 30 minutes at a fuel station as it is. However, some can call into question the source of the electricity used to charge these trucks. If you standardised the results and compared gas for electricity, a recent study found that diesel trucks consume between 2.5-3.3kWh per kilometer. Compare this to the Tesla Semi that requires only 1.115kWh you can actually state that Tesla’s Semi reduces energy consumption by a factor of 1.5-2.9!
As a result, if these megawatt charger stations are correctly implemented, we can safely say the Future for Removals is Electric.
For more information on our removal trucks ,or anything else removal related, give us a call or drop us a message today.