A Rush to Electric: “It’s not that the industry has said that they’re opposed to it, but these timelines do not work.” – Matt Schrap, CEO of the Harbor Trucking Association
The U.S. faces a difficult task: reforming the trucking industry without crumbling the foundation of the economy. California’s solution? Rushing headfirst into electric big rigs. Starting January 1, 2024, California drayage fleets – trucking companies transporting containers to and from ports – can only purchase zero emissions trucks. By 2035, these fleets must be entirely electric.
California is attempting to mandate electric vehicle use before the infrastructure is in place to use it. This ‘solution’ provides more problems that may seriously harm the trucking industry.
It is predicted that drayage fleets will require approximately 2,200 electric trucks (at minimum) in 2024 to replace retired diesel vehicles. The fact remains that there are not enough charging ports to accommodate this sudden increase in electric vehicles. Public and private entities foresee a timeline of two to three years to furnish the necessary charging ports.
Further, the added hours of idle time truckers will be required to face mid-delivery to charge their trucks and the smaller loads they will be required to carry as a result of the added weight of electric trucks will financially burden truckers exponentially. Companies will be required to double their fleet size in order to haul the same amount of freight.
While the effort is recognized as commendable, there are many issues that remain unaddressed in the months before the mandate takes effect.
“We’re talking about a transition that is on the order of when we traded in the horse and buggies for diesel trucks. It’s that consequential. We just do not have the technology figured out.” – Chris Shimoda, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at the California Trucking Association
Protecting Independent Contractors
Where does this mandate leave truckers, particularly the independent Owner Operators that comprise a vital part of the industry? In 2008, California saw a similar attempt to move towards cleaner vehicle resulting in a labor crisis, with companies pushing the cost onto independent contractors through lease to own agreements. Paying for leases out of their settlements, many independent contractors were left with negative income.
With decades of experience in the Final Mile Industry, SCI works to support independent contractor operations, offering valuable services designed to support your independent business. The SCI legal department works to highlight and reform restrictive legislation that unfairly hampers independent contractors’ ability to work independently. Independent contractors running small businesses will be extremely disadvantaged by the impending California legislation. To learn more about the ways in which SCI can help you protect your independent business in the face of this shift, contact the SCI legal team at 518-746-4090.