Last week Thor Trucks announced that it will join the ranks of comopetitors in the electric semi market, ready for production in 2019. Electric semi news continues to grow as major carriers reserve their own Tesla semi’s and Tesla gets a pre-order from a major brand. Technology remains at the forefront of the industry with platooning demonstrations as well. This week expect to keep tabs on the wildfires in LA and the induction of the ELD mandate compliance period.
Shippers, 3PLs Discuss ELD Mandate Compliance
The federal electronic logging device (ELD) mandate will take effect today, December 18, and freight brokers and shippers are surveying their carriers about compliance with the rule, in order to avoid potential supply chain disruptions. Between December 18 and April 1 drivers can be cited for noncompliance with the ELD mandate. From April 1, law enforcement can remove trucks from service.
According to the President of Cowan Logistics (No. 47 of Transport Topics Top 50 largest logistics companies in North America), Dan Evans, many shippers are asking Cowan what they are doing to verify compliance. Evans responds, “We are doing the same things they are – we are contractually requiring our carriers to validate they are compliant with all federal and state laws, and are literally asking the drivers if they have a device installed.” A survey by Carrier Lists and Kenco Group found 74 percent of fleets and 70 percent of those with fewer than 25 trucks are presently compliant. These results were a significant improvement over August and September results when fewer than 33 percent were compliant.
Tesla have Competition in Electric Semi Race
Thor Trucks has entered the EV market with its ET-One, an electric semi they hope will be ready for production in 2019 – the same year that Tesla’s semis are anticipated to hit the market. The ET-One presently is said to have a model-dependent range of 100 – 300 miles and carry a price tag of $150,000 – $250,000. The Thor team is based in Los Angeles and consists of a potpourri of industry experts who hail from other companies developing electric vehicles. Thor, which to date has just 18 employees, will quickly capitalize in order to compete with other industry giants such as Tesla, Cummins, Daimler and Toyota.
In Other News
Schneider announced through a press release that it has placed reservations to add Tesla Trucks to its fleet. The number of trucks it intends to add was not disclosed. According to Mark Rourke, executive vice president and COO at Schneider, the Green Bay-based company is “excited about the potential the electric semi truck offers for delivering a smaller carbon footprint, dramatically lowering lifecycle operating costs and enhancing the driver experience.”
Mexico has completed its process of liberalization to move its market beyond price maximums set by the government. FreightWaves reached out to Breakthrough Fuel to provide commentary on where the market is going and what the recent changes may mean for US fuel prices.
PepsiCo pre-ordered 100 Tesla semis this week, which represents the largest single order for Tesla thus far. To date, Tesla has received pre-orders for just less than 300 of its semis that are said to have a production date in 2019. PepsiCo hopes to reduce its gas emissions by 20 percent by 2030.
Peloton Technology gave a live demonstration of driver assistive truck platooning on I-96 west of Lansing, MI on December 1st. The demonstration featured a pair of trucks platooning at approximately 65 feet and showed key Michigan leaders that the technology provides safety, efficiency and mobility benefits to fleets and the public. Peloton remains on track to deploy its platooning system commercially during 2018.
Wildfires have raged in Southern California since the beginning of December but the overall impact to California freight has been limited and is likely to return to normal activity quickly according to freight transportation forecaster FTR. Load board Truckstop.com and FTR collaborated on an analysis of California freight volume and found outbound van volumes look to be at a ‘normal’ level for early December.
CSX Corp. has appointed Chief Operating Officer James Foote as acting CEO while Hunter Harrison recovers from “an unexpected complication from a recent illness.” Harrison, who is now 73 years old, was appointed CEO of CSX in March and began implementing his “precision railroading” model that helped transform the Canadian National railway. The results thus far into 2017 have been widespread customer dissatisfaction and an investigation by the Surface Transportation Board (STB).