Driving Time Per Day and Breaks

Discussion in 'Experienced Truckers' Advice' started by Analyst Jamie, Jun 2, 2023.

  1. Analyst Jamie

    Analyst Jamie Bobtail Member

    Jun 2, 2023
    Hi everyone, Hope you're well. I'm not a trucker so understand if you prefer to prioritize questions from others.

    I am trying to forecast for my job what percentage of different vehicle types will be electric in the future.

    I am interested in class 8 trucks, 35-40 tonnes (80,000 pounds) weight including load, long haul (say 400-700 miles per day).

    I know long-haul trucks won't electrify (much) in the next few years but we are looking at 2030, 2035 to help companies plan.

    I'm trying to figure if charging a truck will slow things down (due to the charging time) compared to a diesel truck.

    Now if you're driving 11 hour days and stop once for half an hour then electric trucks are going to slow things down and the charging time will be a disadvantage.

    But if it's more common to see 4 hours driving and then stop for an hour for lunch and then 4 hours in the afternoon and then stop for an hour for dinner and then 3 hours more it will be easier to electrify these trucks. In such a case, they will build megawatt chargers that can charge the whole truck in 30-60 minutes because they'll be providing 10x the charging speed of a car charger. And the trucks will have batteries of a megawatt hour or so.

    So what I need to do is what does the typical day look like for you. What is the average number of hours per day and does it vary a lot or is it pretty constant?

    And how many longer breaks do you take? We can ignore stops of 5 minutes. I need to know how many stops of 20 or 60 minutes you make in a day's driving please.

    If anyone knows where I can get stats on this sort of thing let me know as well.


    Also let me know if anyone has any questions about electric vehicles.
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  3. Moosetek13

    Moosetek13 Road Train Member

    Nov 1, 2010
    Burnsville, MN
    The longest I stop during the driving day would be a 30 minute Walmart trip.
    Fuel stops are 15 minutes and short breaks are only 5-10 each.

    There would really only be time to charge the truck during the sleep break, but that would mean there would have to be a charging station at every spot in the truck stops.
    Analyst Jamie and 201 Thank this.
  4. Kshaw0960

    Kshaw0960 Road Train Member

    Jun 17, 2018
    Electric trucks won’t be the future for a long time. There’s videos where this is discussed in the capitol.

    An electric truck would retail for $500k and the energy to charge them would take more than the plant that built them. Then tie on most freight is moved by independent companies and not the top megas and it will be a long time.

    That said, I take a 10 hour break and a 30 minute break maximum. If I have my dog I add 2 more 30 min breaks.
    Analyst Jamie and 201 Thank this.
  5. Thrasher28

    Thrasher28 Medium Load Member

    Aug 12, 2021
    Bowling Green, KY
    For people that run hard, one 30 minute break is about it. Sometimes not even that if we have a mid day delivery that counts towards our 30. Now, if infrastructure becomes so wide spread that warehouses will allow for charging while getting loaded, then it becomes a whole lot more doable. With our current hours of service, making a single pickup and/or delivery pretty much uses up all potential extra time we have.

    My question for you is: how readily available will these megawatt chargers be? Will there be enough to supply every truck on the road needing to charge? You say 30-60 minutes for a charge, which is honestly doable, but reality is 1.5-2 hours by the time other trucks ahead of us use them. There are many times a 30 minute break is really only 5 minutes of an actual break because we have to wait 10-15 minutes before we can even start fueling. I’d imagine the congestion would be even worse when it takes 45 minutes per truck.
    tscottme, Analyst Jamie and 201 Thank this.
  6. Analyst Jamie

    Analyst Jamie Bobtail Member

    Jun 2, 2023
    Thanks for your answers.

    One 30-minute break in an 10 or 11-hour drive would work very badly for electric. You would need to extend the day substantially. You could try for 3 megawatt charging cable so that stops are 20-30 minutes but then you have very expensive chargers, very heavy cable, plus that speed of charge may have an impact on the battery lifetime due to the heat - or at least requires expensive cooling system. Plus it still extends the day a bit. Also, 3 megawatt chargers are pretty much an R and D project at this point, I don´t even know for sure that this would work.

    One 30-minute break in 11 hours may be a genuine use case for hydrogen however fuel cell vehicles are so expensive that this use case will likely stay diesel for a long time. At any rate, it´s hard to see electric being used for this case as early as 2030 in the US.

    The electric trucks are mostly not going to be $500k. Anyway who tries to sell them for that won´t get far. It looks like the Teslas are about $300k at the moment (only being used for distribution for now, not long haul) and by 2030 that should be nearer $250k for an electric given economies of scale and battery price falls by then.

    Charging at warehouses only works if the same warehouse is visited over and over again otherwise it doesn´t make sense to put a charger for a class 8. In 3-10 years warehouses will have chargers popping up to charge cars of the workers, pickup trucks, small vans, and distribution trucks but these will be say a 7kW or a 50kW charger unsuitable for a class 8 truck as too slow to charge such a big vehicle. So you would have to pay for one in specially at very high cost and it also means hassle with the utility and electrical installations, not just buying a charger, as megawatt power is not so simple as just buying a charger.

    Thrasher, big companies will not accept drivers waiting in a queue, That just doesn´t work. You need to know that maybe 95% of the time you will be able to start charging immediately and perhaps 99% of the time within 20 minutes. Otherwise, it won´t work and it would suck for drivers, too. So the companies if they do it will build lots of them. And this means more space. You might need to expand existing facilities or build new ones. The actual amount of parking space might even need to be slightly increased. If this seems unfeasible, they won´t do it in my opinion. You can´t wait around for a charger, not in commercial space.

    An individual owner-operator would have to try and piggy back off this charging network somehow that will originally be set up by a few large companies. You would need to research this in some depth before starting out. I can see big companies going first (2030 or 2035) and individual owner operators following later.

    Actually a company could buy 100 Tesla Semis and build a charging corridor and get going and it might already be cheaper for them due to electric per mile being way below diesel. But because electric is so hard to do and has some clear disadvantages it won´t happen unless and until electric is a LOT cheaper.

    At first I guess you will see electric distribution trucks for class 8, 80,000 pounders, and later a few charging corridors maybe in California or the East and possibly with restricted use to one or a few companies. A full national network with frequent chargers for everyone, for class 8 trucks, if it ever happens, is a very long way away.

    There is a lot of uncertainty in this area for now so think of all this as best guess.
    201, D.Tibbitt and Thrasher28 Thank this.
  7. Ridgeline

    Ridgeline Road Train Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    I drove a medium-duty EV demonstrator truck, it is a class 7 truck with 240KW battery capacity. Between the two of us, we drove it for 200 miles. When we parked it to charge, it took 140 minutes using a DC charging system that was 90KW. The performance wasn't bad but it has a long way to go.

    Using electricity vs. diesel is going to be a hard sell, the sale dweeb from the company who made the truck said Diesel will have to be above $7 a gallon to justify the cost of electricity, I am thinking more like $11 per gallon.
    201 and flood Thank this.
  8. flood

    flood Road Train Member

    Dec 25, 2010
    Electronic trucks would cost 100% more than diesel...

    Have less than 20% the range..Pepsi found that out wuth the tesla... fully loaded (80,000 lb) they won't use it on longer that 100 miles trips.

    Power available... take Oklahoma city ok...
    To put charging stations in all 6 truckstops would require more than 4 times the power that the city uses..... where is all that power going to come from...??
    Soltaker, The_vett, Numb and 1 other person Thank this.
  9. rollin coal

    rollin coal Road Train Member

    Mar 29, 2008
    Trucking is so diverse there's nobody keeping any sort of stats on this. It would be so wildly all over the place the types and lengths of breaks people take. Even 2 drivers at the same company running similar freight most likely have their own way of doing that differently from each other. The only thing for certain most drivers are paid piecemeal and all are regulated by the hour.

    Optimally in this age of ELD's the less breaks one takes the better. The mandatory 30 minute break is one of the dumbest, unnecessary regulation ever conceived. Any driver out here knows when they want or need to stretch their legs. Mandatory breaks that do nothing to provide any rest and only add stress. Having to take breaks because you need to charge are even worse for efficiency. But people who don't drive trucks apparently have better ideas.
    Soltaker, pashaz, Ruthless and 3 others Thank this.
  10. snowwy

    snowwy Road Train Member

    Jul 6, 2009
    They also don't understand the concept of electric over diesel.

    I have a friend that bought the electric mustang. She doesn't have to buy gas. That's saving her a ton of money. She also doesn't have to change the oil. It has no oil to change. No spark plugs, air filters, belts, timing chains or belts, sensors. Etc.

    Ev is maintenance free. She charges at night. And her power bill isn't even noticeable.

    Has anyone done any research to see what the charger pulls in vs what it pulls out. I mean. If a 5v USB plug can charge a 12v 700 Amp booster in 2 hours. The booster obviously doesn't require any power to put out a lot of power.
    viper822004 Thanks this.
  11. Accidental Trucker

    Accidental Trucker Road Train Member

    Jun 4, 2015
    Charging stations will need to have battery systems to be able to supply the juice on demand.

    The difficulty in this type of forecasting is the projection of the situation today into the future.

    By 2035, battery technology will be improved over today. No telling how much, but if any of the promise of solid state batteries comes true, energy density and charging rates could as much as double. The stuff we see today is experimental, incremental, not necessarily predictive of what will be the norm 10 and 15 year out.

    Electrification has the potential to make transportation cheaper, but that is not a promise that it will. It’s true for personal vehicles already. Local deliveries, maybe. OTR will be a tough nut to crack without a significant leap forward in battery performance. Yes, there as many different ways of doing things as there are drivers, but they are almost all under pressure to get the load off as quickly as possible. Fundamentally, OTR is about how many miles you can put on the equipment. HOS limits that, and stopping to charge is an additional limitation.
    Soltaker Thanks this.
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