Zero emission cars are now a familiar sight, but there are currently almost no zero emission trucks on the road anywhere in the world.
While cars are generally only used for 1.5 hours per day, trucks routinely operate for over 10 hours and sometimes much more with multiple shifts. Fleets that do operate small numbers of electric trucks tend to use them only for the shortest routes where there is no risk of running out of charge. The problem is that the cost and emissions savings only make sense if these vehicles cover high mileages.
But Tevva Motors, a Chelmsford-based technology company in the UK, has solved this challenge. The company’s 7-14 tonne trucks have a fully-electric range of approximately 100 miles, but can travel far outside their electric capacity using a range extender — a small but highly-efficient internal combustion engine that acts as a generator to recharge the batteries while the vehicle is on the road. This means that operators are happy to maximise the use of electric-only drive, thereby achieving full cost and emissions benefits.
Tevva’s Predictive Range Extender Management System (PREMS) is a cloud-based software package that calculates the vehicle’s expected daily energy requirement based on a delivery plan which is updated in real-time. If a journey is predicted to be longer than the electric range, PREMS will autonomously control the range extender to switch on at the optimal time. For example, a truck travelling into central London would engage its range extender as it leaves the depot outside the M25, switching it off as it approaches the Low Emissions Zone to ensure that there are zero emissions in urban areas.
Having completed a 15-month trial with UPS during which its truck operated like a conventional vehicle (with no range or performance restrictions), Tevva is now preparing to start production to satisfy orders from around 10 logistics companies. The company made a significant step forward in June when it completed a £12m investment round, £10m of which came from Bharat Forge, part of the $2.5bn Kalyani Group and the world’s largest forging company. Bharat Forge’s considerable resources and commitment to powertrain electrification is expected to be of great assistance to Tevva as it scales up to meet strong market demand for low emissions trucks in the future.
Turquoise acted as corporate finance adviser to Tevva on its capital raising.