It’s clear by now that electric vehicles are more than a passing fad. In fact, it’s likely that over time EVs will become the predominant choice for municipal fleets, overtaking conventional diesel and gasoline-powered units. This causes one to ponder if a truck of ample size can be powered to move the amounts of snow that parts of Pennsylvanians see each winter. The future for electric trucks to plow snow for public works holds great potential if they can step up to this difficult but crucial task. As the world continues to prioritize sustainability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the adoption of EVs across various industries, including public works, is gaining momentum. Here are some viewpoints of the future of electric trucks for snowplowing.
Electric truck technology is evolving rapidly, with improvements in battery capacity, charging infrastructure, and overall performance. Future electric trucks will likely have longer ranges, faster charging times, and increased power capabilities, making them suitable for demanding tasks like snowplowing. Many of us are watching this transformation closely, with an eye toward integrating EVs into municipal operations as advances are made. As governments and municipalities continue to set ambitious climate goals, there will be a greater push to transition to electric fleets for public works, including snowplowing. Financial incentives, grants, and regulatory measures may encourage fleet operators to invest in electric trucks. Pennsylvania seems to be in favor of this transition and is encouraging it with grant opportunities to begin the process on the local levels.
The biggest challenge for EVs in municipal fleets is the battery. Advances in energy storage technology will play a crucial role in the success of electric snowplow trucks. Improved energy density, extended battery life, and enhanced cold-weather performance will be essential to ensure efficient and reliable snowplowing operations. Snowplowing often takes place in challenging weather conditions, including extreme cold. Future electric trucks for snowplowing will need to be designed to withstand low temperatures and maintain optimal performance. Battery management systems will be critical to ensure efficient energy usage in cold environments. This means that the availability of charging infrastructure will be essential for the widespread adoption of electric trucks for snowplowing. Public charging stations, as well as dedicated charging facilities at depots and maintenance yards, will need to be developed to support the charging needs of truck fleets.
Electric snowplow trucks can potentially serve as energy storage resources. Through vehicle-to-grid (V2G) integration, these trucks can supply power back to the grid during non-operational periods, such as when they are parked and connected to a charging station. This concept can help stabilize the electricity grid and optimize the use of renewable energy sources. It seems that a lot of smart people are looking at every option to ensure that this process can work. The future of snowplowing may also include advancements in autonomous technology. Electric autonomous snowplow trucks could be programmed to efficiently clear roads and respond to changing weather conditions, improving overall efficiency and safety. This may not be as futuristic as one may think.
While electric trucks for snowplowing face some challenges, such as upfront costs and infrastructure requirements, ongoing technological advancements and the increasing commitment to sustainability indicate a positive future for their adoption in public works operations. I usually sign off with “fire this thing up.,” but in this case maybe it should be, “charge this thing up,”, we’re plowing snow.”
About the Author
David L. Anthony is a member of the Keystone Municipal Solutions team of experts. He is a veteran of municipal government, having served more than 33 years in various positions of public service. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about David and the Keystone Municipal Solutions team, click here.