Einride, a startup based in Scandinavia has just released a full-scale prototype of its much anticipated T-Pod. The T-Pod is a fully electric truck. With a range of 124 miles and a 20kWh capacity, it is designed to replace small heavy duty fossil fuel reliant trucks on short trips.
[Image Source: Einride]
Without the need for the driver's cab, the prototype looks pretty weird but if all goes to plan there will be 200 vehicles transporting goods between Gothenburg and Helsingborg in Sweden by 2020.
Once in full operation, the T-pod network made up of these driverless trucks will have the capacity to move up to 2,000,000 pallets of goods per year. Einride claims that they may grow the route network across Sweden faster if the trucks work well.
Interestingly the electric truck not only has autonomous capabilities but it also has a remote control mechanism. This allows humans to control the electric truck. The company says this adds “human flexibility and decision-making” to the fleet.
[Image Source: Einride/Facebook]
The company is developing the entire transport network that includes remote control center and charging stations along the routes where necessary. The tiny trucks fit 15 standard pallets making them small enough to also navigate urban areas.
Einride CEO Robert Falck explains, “We’re now at a crucial time for not only the Einride business but for the future of transport. Through technology, we have been able to create a system for the future, but it involves bravery and dedication from people the world over, to accept that change is also their responsibility and put the T-pod system into practice.”
The prototype isn’t exactly what we will see on the roads, the charging system is yet to debut a larger battery capacity. The first production of trucks is expected to be delivered later this year.
Volvo and Tesla also developing electric truck technology
Volvo is also making huge leaps into to the electric transport arena. Last month it showed off its self-steering trucks, designed to increase the yield of sugarcane. Though the technology has also found application in the mining industry and for garbage collection.
Tesla also has plans for an electric light weight truck.
Tesla Semi truck unveil set for September. Team has done an amazing job. Seriously next level.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2017
Musk outlined the plan further on the company’s blog, saying "We believe the Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate".
Cost and safety are motivating factors for the industry. Accroding to a US workplace census, truck driving is amongst the deadliest of professions. The report found that truck drivers were more likely to be fatally injured on the job, than any other profession.