Time really does fly by when you are having fun. Now, let’s face it, what could possibly be more fun than being a used truck dealer? When you add these two (almost) facts together you will see that used truck dealers – especially those who trade in late, used trucks – will need to start thinking about what changes they will need to make to be able to continue trading successfully when electric trucks hit the market.

Over the years, the dealers have taken the developments in truck technology in their stride. Not without a little moaning about it, but that’s where the fun lies!

Forget digital tachos, the six Euro emission standards and even whole vehicle type approval, the arrival of electric trucks into the used truck marketplace will be more of a game changer for the truck traders.

When will we see used Electric Trucks for Sale?

We are still at the early stages of rolling out electric trucks in the UK. Most European manufacturers will not be fully on stream with large production volumes of electric trucks until 2025. Normally when a truck is expensive to buy – think mixer, refuse truck, recovery truck – they are kept on the fleet for some while to pay back. In theory therefore, electric trucks should not be available in any real numbers until 2030 at least. In reality, however, some fleet operators may sign up for shorter contract hire periods because of the unknown technology.

What will Change for Used Truck Dealers?

The changes will be less significant than for truck operators who will have to overcome relatively limited range and inadequate national charging infrastructure. There will be some extra safety training for technicians working around these trucks, but a dealer will be likely to send the vehicle into the manufacturer if there is a significant piece of technical work required, such as motor or battery replacement, at least in the early years.

Battery Powered Volvo Truck
In Volvo’s FH, each battery pack has a capacity of 90 kWh and the customer can choose to have up to six battery packs (540 kWh) in a truck

What will take more work is the understanding of the vehicles available in the market and how their specifications differ. With the current range of diesel trucks, most will have a choice of one or two engine sizes and a range of six power outputs. Of course, there are also varying axle configurations and wheelbase lengths, but that will still exit with battery trucks as well. The large change will be the modular approach the manufacturers are taking to the specification of the battery packs.

It is this modular approach that may cause some extra confusion and the truck dealers will need to fully comprehend that two trucks may have the same motors, but one may have 200kWh batteries, best suited for local operation, whilst another may have 600 or even 800kWh or anywhere in between.

Buyers of used electric trucks are going to be understandably nervous about the potential and actual ranges of these trucks, so it will be job of the dealer to reassure that the specification of the truck on the table will be up to the job. Imagine having this conversation about the size of the diesel tanks!

Keep on Top of Developments

There is an increasing flurry of new electric truck launches taking place now from all the main six European truck manufacturers across all weight ranges and duty cycles. In addition to these companies, there are new entrants to the market, including Tevva, Electra and Volta (in administration). There is always the looming spectre of Tesla on the horizon. Perhaps the car makers dismissed Tesla in the early days – they are not doing that any more.

We would recommend that dealers read the specifications of these trucks and research areas that are not clear.  You can read plenty of information here at Truckpages in the electric truck news category.  For a broader view on alternative fuels, including biomethane and hydrogen trucks, then study the ‘Alternative Fuels’ new category for up-to-date information covering all manufacturers.

It will be the dealers early into the used market that could capitalise on the opportunities that could arise from being seen as the specialist in this area. In twenty years time, most dealers will be trading in electric trucks, so it can only pay to be forewarned and prepared with charging facilities and trained sales staff and technicians.