Recently a scientific paper claimed we cannot meaningfully decarbonize transport.
I criticized their dismissal of electric trucks.

Now they're back with a 'rebuttal' to my criticism.
Allow me to rebut that.

Because eTrucks ARE the future!
I usually leave degrowth papers be but this one claimed a heavy electric truck with 800 km of range was impossible because the battery would be heavier than an entire truck. That's outdated nonsense that distracts from real climate solutions. So I reacted.
It also irks me. I mean, did none of the authors think: "How can it be that Tesla claims to have a functioning truck just like that with thousands of pre-orders in 2020?"

They are painting a picture for 2050 for crying out loud!
So I explained the battery could weight just 5t now and 3.5t in 2025. Plus you can save 3t on the drivetrain. So the weight problem is basically disappearing fast.

'That's that' I said to myself.
Now they are back with a 'rebuttal' that makes me feel a little ashamed for bashing people that apparently understand so little about the technology they feel compelled to write about.
They claim further lightweighting of batteries might be impossible. Well, we see a halving of weight per decade in the past. And silicon, lithium sulfur, solid state, bigger cells and structural batteries all promise big weight reductions.
Then they claim lightweight batteries are too expensive. Actually... you're talking about the Tesla battery and it's one of the cheapest batteries on the market.

And fun fact: as batteries improve they use less materials.
This makes them...?

Yup: lighter and cheaper.
That's the whole problem with luddite technophobes: they try to predict the future (2050!) with technology of yesteryear.

Trying to understand learning curves and technologies would lead to very different predictions.
Then they claim my energy use is unachievable by 2050, even though (again) Tesla is claiming it right now. It's not really that big a deal compared to their ludicrous battery weight but let's rebut that too.
'Rolling resistance tires do not have enough traction.' ("Technology will. not. improve! I. don't. accept it!")

If you would compare tires (now possible due to EU labelling!) you would see that low rolling resistance tires are more expensive but they are braking just fine.
Then they claim you need an aerodynamic bullet nose that would cost too much cargo. Fortunately the bullet nose is on fast track to be accepted in the EU.

Even bigger gains are in regenerative braking (!), the side skirts, truck-trailer gap skirt and skirted back by the way.
I wonder how much research they have done into low resistance tires, aerodynamic fairings, re-engineered electric trucks, and trucking driving cycles. I've studie it a lot.

Here's a link to a good primer:
Then they go on to size the battery for a range of 1300-2500km. Wait? What?

In your paper you talked about 800 km. That's what I talked about. But now that you see that doesn't compute you come up with this sleight of hand?
If you study European travel patterns, you find 800 km is enough for about 80% of trucks.

I agree that for the other 20% we need alternatives.

But we have those too. Like fast charging, catenary systems, hydrogen or efuels.
By rejecting the decarbonisation potential of something that can 'only' decarbonize 80% of applications and ignoring the alternatives that can take care of the other 20%, you show you really don't get it and/or have an ideological blind spot.
I think.
To be clear: I agree we should use less stuff and recycle what we use. Our planet is finite and we are stripping it bare at the moment. We're on the same side!

But disqualifying technologies that can actually help, just because *you* don't understand them, is not the way to go.
So I have a proposal to the writers: before you write another 'rebuttal' to this criticism, just mail me: a dot e dot hoekstra at tue dot nl and we can set up a videoconference.
You can follow @AukeHoekstra.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled:

By continuing to use the site, you are consenting to the use of cookies as explained in our Cookie Policy to improve your experience.