In this edition of Dealer Round Up, Snow Plow News ask dealers to share their thoughts on the electrification of trucks and how this will impact the snow and ice industry.
July 11, 2022 | Emma Tyborski
So here at the show, Ford brought out the new Ford Lightning F-150, which is really cool that they were getting really advanced into this whole thing. They had a bare chassis here we looked at, luckily the chassis itself looks like the regular F-150, so the mount for most matter of fact should go right on, but the issue that we kept asking for and we got a couple different answers, was that the plow prep package is not something on the radar until they’ve approved it themselves. They have a battery connection point you can connect to, but from what the specs they were telling me, it doesn’t sound like you would be able to power a snow plow off of that, so that is one question with the electric trucks that’s a big concern.
I’ve talked to guys about the range on the electric trucks and how many hours can you plow before you have to stop plug in. For a homeowner or small business or do their own stuff, I think it will be fine, but let’s say you’re a municipality and buy an electric, single axle truck, you’re going to get 12 hours of plow time and then you got to let it charge for 12 hours. So that’s why some of these alternative fuels trucks might be still the thing. The technology is coming it’s just not quite there yet at this point in time. Hopefully in the next five to ten years they’ll have it figured out for a rapid charge system or a quick change system, but it’s coming, it’s just a matter of time.
Electric trucks are definitely something I’m interested in. We just came from the Ford Pro stand and had a conversation with them and they don’t have a solution as far as how you’re going to get 12 volts with enough amps to run the snowplow on the salt spreader, but there’s a lot of things that will make it a great plow truck. Being able to transfer their weight different because you don’t have the motor in the front of the vehicle, the Ford F-150 Lightning has the motors right over the front and rear axle, almost evening out the weight giving you a lot more traction than your standard gas or diesel pickup truck. So in the future there will be some great snowplow options. Just walking around this show you can see electric is up and coming. There’s trucks all over and it doesn’t seem anyone has a snowplow or spreader solution for them yet, but I’m very interested to see how that’s going to progress in the industry.
They’re working on the electric vehicles around the the whole industry and doing that change I really liked Elon Musk’s comment the other day though turn the pipelines back on because we can’t make the electric and the other alternative resources happen fast enough. It’s still a long ways away and at this point I don’t know how in the middle of a 12 or 14 day snowstorm I’m gonna be able to keep my truck charged unless I have a generator in the back to keep the truck charged. So until they solve that problem I don’t see it as a widespread industry thing, but in certain niche markets, it’s very possible.
We saw it with with spreaders, right, maybe six seven years ago they started coming out and people were asking for electric spreaders and we were still selling them those gasoline-powered spreaders and and the numbers just kept dwindling in the gasoline and the electric spreaders kept going up. I want to say five years ago when they came out with the striker and the steel caster and when that was revolutionary, they had a module back there that could control all the different accessories it was all plug and play and that just change the entire scope of we were doing when it came to salt spreader. So I kind of see that with trucks the same way, we’re going to see a couple different markets out there where they’re going to dabble in and eventually they’ll get in the snow and ice and eventually the whole thing is going to be electric.
It’s going to have a couple rough years where you’re going to have early adopters and they’re going to be like why’d I buy this, but I think eventually once they iron out the all the other problems I think it’s going to be good. I‘m hoping with the weight of the chassis lower center of gravity that maybe four wheel drive won’t be such a big necessity, because you’re going to have those heavy batteries weighing it down.
As far as electric trucks with snow plows, I think it’s inevitable, however range is going to be a big issue. Also, the temperature that snow plows operate in is normally very cold, which kills the efficiency of a lot of batteries. A customer to be able to plow through the night and not have to stop and charge every couple hours is going to be whether or not it ever becomes a feasible solution.