Launched in Fall 2020, the Extensiv Supply Chain Scholarship aims to foster the talent that will drive the future of our industry. Now in its fourth year, the Extensiv scholarship program hopes to inspire fresh ideas and voices in logistics and the supply chain.

Now, we present Jazlyn Yanssens of Duquesne University, the first Fall 2023 Extensiv Supply Chain Scholarship runner-up, and her essay outlining how the adoption of electric trucks in the transportation industry—despite the challenges of implementing this initiative—will change the logistics industry for the better.

The transportation industry is a major key to the supply chain worldwide. Some might even say that without transportation, the world would stop spinning. Although, within the industry, there are some concerns about sustainability and carbon emissions given the world’s current climate crisis. Many companies are beginning to research the use of electric trucks, and some have already put the idea into motion. The idea of electric trucks is on the rise in the transportation industry, but with any idea, there are always disadvantages that come with the many advantages.

Electric trucks are on the rise in the trucking industry, but not as fast as you would expect, or as fast as they realistically should be. According to an article by MAERSK, the trucking industry is around ten years behind cars in terms of going electric (Meinert, 2023). While there are many companies that are looking into and implementing this idea, the few disadvantages may be holding them back from fully electrifying their fleets.

The main struggle that many seem to face when making the decision to go electric is the charging requirements and how long the batteries can last. Many drivers in the industry drive hundreds of miles every day, and spending time at charging stations isn’t always ideal, especially when they are used to 10-minute gas station stops. Not only are the charging times a downside, but buying and receiving the necessary equipment to charge the trucks seem to be the biggest struggle when it comes to the electrification of trucks.

Purchasing charging stations comes with suppliers having to obtain the correct electrical equipment. One of the main parts of the equipment is switchgear—a centralized collection of circuit breakers, fuses, switches, and/or circuit protection devices that all control and isolate the electrical equipment behind a metal panel. According to an article by FreightWaves, the lead times for switchgear range from 40 to 80 weeks (Adler, 2023). On one end of the supply chain, suppliers are having a hard time finding the right components to be able to make the batteries, which leads to the transportation industry not being able to find electric trucks that can be purchased with the correct charging equipment.

Another key hurdle that comes with the decision to purchase a fleet of electric trucks is the vehicles’ ranges. FreightWaves provides data on how far certain classes of electric trucks can travel: “Electric trucks, especially class 4-6 models—box trucks, single axle, tandem axle, and yard tractors to name a few—are rapidly replacing gasoline and diesel-fueled models. The heavier lift is Class 6-8 trucks, with a driving range still limited to 150 to 300 miles between charges” (Adler, 2023).

The range of electric trucks is not the best, which goes hand in hand with another huge barrier for the drivers in the industry: their fear of being stranded with a dead battery. With gasoline- and diesel-fueled models, being stranded without gas is a fear, but it is not a fear that cannot be fixed. Getting a truck with a dead battery to a charging station is significantly more difficult than getting gasoline or diesel fuel to a truck stuck on the side of the road.

Though there are some bumps in the road to the electrification of trucks, there is still a destination in sight. There are many advantages to moving to electric trucks like creating middle-mile transportation efficiency, energy efficiency, low energy costs, less maintenance, tax benefits, and even incentives from the government.

The increase in efficiency from electric trucks in middle-mile transportation could be one of the next biggest advancements in supply chain management. The delivery expectancy of goods has now become one to two days, leading to retailers beginning to store goods closer to their end destination. This calls for an increase in middle-mile transportation.

Many companies are looking for new ways to cut costs and become more efficient in the industry, contributing to the rise in the electrification of trucks. An article by Ampcontrol mentions forecasts that show a large increase in short hauls and a decrease in the number of long-haul trips. Electric trucks don’t necessarily have the best range for long-haul trips, but the increase in short hauls in middle-mile transportation creates a great window of opportunity for the electrification of trucks. With the electrification of trucks and installation of charging stations, drivers will not have to stop for gasoline on their short haul trips, becoming more efficient overall and cutting costs.

Some companies are already beginning to transfer over to electric trucks for their fleets. DHL has electric delivery vans that contribute to lowering carbon emissions in urban areas. The vans have a carrying capacity of up to 800kg and an autonomy of up to 500km (Mecalux, 2022).

Tesla has also begun manufacturing and producing an electric truck that consumes less than 2kWh per mile, travels around 500 miles on a single charge, and recovers up to 70% of its energy in just 30 minutes (Mecalux, 2022). With Tesla creating the resources and other companies beginning to use electric trucks and vans, this will create incentive to other companies to follow suit.

Furthermore, state governments are also starting to give incentives for electric trucks. California’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project offers up to $167,000 credit on a zero-tailpipe emission Class 8 truck and as much as $288,000 for a truly zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell truck (Adler, 2023). If other states follow California’s lead, the rise of the electrification of trucks will spike drastically.

Mass adoption of something of this magnitude always has its complexities but can come with the representation of sustainability in the supply chain industry. The rise of electric trucks can change the industry immensely and completely for the better.


Adler, A. (2023, October 4). Maneuvering Multiple Supply Chains Key to Electric Truck Charging. FreightWaves.

Lohse, J. (2021, November 11). Electric Trucks are Shaping Middle-Mile Transportation Strategies.

Mecalux. (2022, October 24). Electric Trucks and Their Impact on Logistics. Interlake Mecalux, Warehouse solutions.

Meinert, K. (2023, September 1). When will electric trucks become more widely used for sustainable logistics?. Maersk.

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