How to Extend Electric Semi Truck Range With Aerodynamics

As electric vehicles (EVs) increase in popularity, many fleets in the trucking industry are considering electric semi trucks to increase sustainability and reduce emission levels. 

Electric trucks add new considerations to fleet management. Electric trucks have a limited range, which could negatively impact fleet efficiency. What happens if a truck is miles from home base, has a problem, and the battery is running low?

Extending the electric semi truck range can help fleets optimize efficiency and reduce risks. In this article, we’ll look closer at the electric semi truck range and explore ways to improve it.

What Is the Standard Semi Truck Range?

The range of a standard semi truck can vary depending on the size and number of its fuel tanks. Fuel tanks on these trucks commonly hold 110 to 150 gallons, and semi trucks typically have two.

Generally, semi trucks burn around six miles per gallon, making their expected range approximately 1,320 to 1,800 miles.

However, several factors can impact the range.

  • Weight: Heavy trucks burn more fuel, reducing mileage.
  • Terrain: High-incline roads increase fuel consumption, decreasing range.
  • Fuel tanks: Bigger and more spacious tanks increase available mileage and range.
  • Airflow: An aerodynamic truck consumes less fuel, resulting in a longer range.

What Is the Range of an Electric Semi Truck?

Like standard trucks, an electric semi truck’s range depends on factors like aerodynamics, terrain, and weight. However, two additional considerations unique to EVs are battery capacity and electric drivetrain efficiency.

By 2023, electric semi trucks will be available from several brands, including Tesla, Volvo, and Freightliner. Their ranges will vary based on the model.

Here are the specs on the top electric Class 8 trucks available in 2023:

MakeModelRange Charge Time
TeslaSemi500 mi.70% in 30 mins
VolvoVNR Electric275 mi.80% in 90 mins
FreightlinereCascadia155, 220, or 230 mi.0-80% in 90 mins
Peterbilt579EV150 mi.100% in 3 hrs

Electric Semi Truck Use Cases

Electric semi trucks excel in particular applications due to their shorter travel range than conventional semi trucks.

Specifically, electric trucks shine in urban delivery routes. These city routes offer more opportunities for regenerative braking and easy compliance with emissions regulations.

Additionally, port transportation is another strong fit for electric semi trucks, given the short and predictable trips between ports and nearby warehouses.

Can Aerodynamics Extend Electric Semi Truck Range?

At high speeds, overcoming drag accounts for about 65% of a typical heavy truck’s total energy consumption. As a result, reducing energy consumption is possible by improving aerodynamics—how air flows around the truck.

As EVs get more efficient, their batteries last longer. Enhanced battery life allows them to go farther between charges, effectively increasing range.

In terms of aerodynamics, electric semi trucks have a distinct advantage. Electric semis have greater design flexibility than conventional semi trucks, whose design revolves around the engine and drivetrain. The floor-mounted battery storage and smaller electric motors allow for more aerodynamic shapes. Their cooling systems also require fewer gaps and holes for radiators, reducing aerodynamic drag.

How to Increase the Range of an Electric Semi Truck

Aerodynamics plays a significant role in electric semi truck energy consumption. As such, reducing aerodynamic drag can extend their range. 

Here are three ways to increase electric semi truck range:

1. Close the Gap

Closing the gap between the tractor and trailer is a straightforward yet impactful way to improve aerodynamics. Reduced turbulence and drag translate to less energy consumption and a longer range. 

An automated gap reducer, such as TruckWings, is the optimal solution for closing this gap. This technology is proven to improve fuel economy by 3-6%, thereby noticeably extending the range of electric semi trucks.

2. Add Roof Fairings

Roof fairings provide a dual benefit: they not only improve the aerodynamics of your truck but are also a cost-effective way to increase range. These attachments streamline the truck’s shape, effectively reducing air resistance and energy consumption. 

Roof fairings are generally lightweight, easy to install, and can pay for themselves in fuel savings over time. Improving the truck’s overall efficiency extends the range and reduces operational costs.

3. Invest in a Battery Management System

Think of a Battery Management System (BMS) as the brain of your electric semi truck. It plays a critical role in maintaining and protecting the battery pack. A BMS measures parameters like cell voltage, temperature, and charging rates. 

But its capabilities go beyond simple monitoring—it actively balances the voltage between cells and manages the current drawn from each cell to maximize power and range. Plus, by preventing overcharging and over-discharging, a BMS ensures the longevity of your battery pack, protecting your investment in the long run.

Improve Your Fleet’s Semi Truck Range With TruckLabs

As more than half of the energy used by semi trucks goes toward pushing air away, reducing aerodynamic drag is essential. Aerodynamics is even more crucial in electric semi trucks since it can effectively increase range, thus improving fleet efficiency and reducing risk.

TruckWings is a solution that can significantly improve the aerodynamics of an electric semi truck, extending its range.

Check out TruckWings or contact us for more information about increasing your electric semi truck range by reducing aerodynamic drag.

Best Practices for Improving Fleet Efficiency in Class 8 Trucking

Rising diesel prices are escalating the operational costs of fleets. Coupled with the steady rise of other expenses, the imperative for fleet managers to enhance their fleet efficiency has never been clearer.

Fleet efficiency involves optimizing vehicles, trailers, containers, drivers, and administrative personnel. In this article, we’ll delve into the concept of fleet efficiency and its significance in the trucking industry and outline six best practices to elevate it

What Is Fleet Efficiency?

Before discussing how to improve fleet efficiency, it is important to understand what it means. Fleet efficiency is improving the performance of a company’s fleet of vehicles.

A fleet manager must review and monitor various factors to improve fleet efficiency. To measure fleet efficiency, fleet managers use three main indicators:

  • Safety metrics help to identify risk patterns and implement preventative measures. These measures include accident rates, driving violations, and maintenance compliance.
  • Cost efficiency metrics help identify areas of waste or inefficiencies in a fleet. These indicators include fuel efficiency, idle time, and vehicle utilization.
  • Compliance metrics indicate how well a fleet complies with relevant regulations and standards. These measurements include on-time deliveries, hours of service, and emissions compliance.

Importance of Efficiency in the Trucking Industry

Fleet efficiency is pivotal for the prosperity of the fleet for several compelling reasons.

One of the obvious benefits is reducing costs. Profit margins will improve by prioritizing enhancements in key fleet areas and adopting technologies that reduce fleet fuel costs. Given the existing squeeze on margins, proactive investments today promise significant returns in the future.

Environmental responsibility is another major factor. With governments increasingly urging businesses to consider their ecological footprint, the trucking industry is under the spotlight. Enhancing fleet efficiency reduces emissions and steers the organization toward a more eco-friendly trajectory.

In addition, it’s crucial to consider the well-being and satisfaction of employees. A streamlined and efficient fleet cultivates a reduced-stress environment and can improve driver retention. This minimizes operational challenges, such as last-minute alterations and excessive idle time, ensuring more consistent schedules and improving driver satisfaction. 

6 Best Practices for Improving Fleet Efficiency

Prioritizing fleet efficiency enhancement is an effective strategy for cutting down fleet costs. There are many things fleet managers can do to improve efficiency, including:

1. Enhance Truck Aerodynamics

Aerodynamic devices are a primary contributor to fleet efficiency. There are a variety of devices to choose from, such as aerodynamic bumpers, mirrors, and roof fairings. Not only do these devices help reduce fuel consumption, but they can also reduce emissions and improve driving capabilities as less wind buffets the vehicle.

Among the great devices that can help fleet efficiency are tractor gap devices, like TruckWings. TruckWings closes the gap between the cab and the trailer, making the truck more aerodynamic. Increased aerodynamics helps to improve airflow and fuel economy.

2. Optimize Operations With Telematics

Telematics is a trucking technology that monitors a fleet vehicle’s data points and transfers them to a central system for real-time analysis. A fleet manager can then use that data to make better decisions for the entire fleet.

With telematics, fleet efficiency can be improved in a variety of ways. A fleet tracking system can avoid traffic delays on the original route and track the fleet’s location. Additionally, it can monitor fuel consumption and address any drivers who waste fuel. Predicting mechanical issues with a vehicle health indicator can minimize downtime.

3. Provide Feedback and Foster Communication

Leveraging technology allows fleet managers to monitor essential metrics related to driver behavior. Since better driving practices can lead to decreased fuel consumption, engaging drivers in constructive dialogue is essential.

Instead of delivering feedback as criticism, positioning it as constructive coaching can make drivers more receptive. In addition, two-way communication is essential: while fleet managers should provide feedback, drivers should also have avenues to voice their insights and concerns.

Given their hands-on experience, drivers often offer crucial perspectives that can enhance overall fleet operations. Their feedback can also highlight potential improvements in communication channels, ensuring a transparent and effective exchange between managerial staff and drivers.

4. Streamline Operations With Software

Advancements in technology have paved the way for software solutions and mobile apps that bolster efficiency in the trucking industry. Gone are the days when fleet management relied on cumbersome paper trails and whiteboards. These methods were time-consuming, prone to errors, and lacked analytical depth. 

Modern fleet management tools offer real-time connectivity and derive insights from vast data. This software ensures accurate data collection from vehicles and stores it centrally for effortless retrieval. Vehicle maintenance records, both past and upcoming, are readily available with timely alerts. Integrated mobile apps further bridge communication between drivers and the central office, guaranteeing access to current information.

5. Reduce Idle Time With Fuel-Efficient Routes

Excessive idle time can escalate fuel consumption, maintenance expenses, and environmental impact. Sending drivers on suboptimal routes only further reduces semi truck fuel efficiency

Utilizing routing software, you can minimize idle time by optimizing routes based on variables like delivery addresses and delivery times, ensuring paths with minimal traffic. Educating drivers about turning off engines during halts and utilizing telematics for real-time data can further reduce idle periods and prevent unnecessary traffic delays.

6. Implement Preventive Maintenance

Instead of reacting to breakdowns, fleet managers should proactively implement preventive maintenance schedules. This approach addresses potential issues before they escalate, minimizing unplanned vehicle downtime.

Proactive truck fleet maintenance not only curtails downtime but also optimizes fuel efficiency. Routine measures, such as tire inflation and oil filter replacements, are crucial for peak vehicle performance and can substantially reduce repair expenses. Taking a proactive stance reduces downtime for drivers and eliminates emergency responses.

A robust preventive maintenance strategy begins with a comprehensive fleet inventory and current records. Plans should be tailored for each vehicle, considering its usage, season, mileage, and engine hours. Continual monitoring of these elements enables informed decisions. Furthermore, training drivers to conduct inspections and report findings to a central system enhances the preventive approach.

Optimize Your Fleet Efficiency With TruckLabs

Understanding fleet efficiency is foundational for any trucking company committed to optimizing costs and operations. It’s not a one-time effort but a continuous endeavor. By embracing technological advancements, such as aerodynamic improvements with TruckWings, companies can drive tangible improvements in fuel efficiency.

Check out TruckWings or contact us if you’d like to learn more about how to improve your fleet’s efficiency.

Green Logistics: Sustainability in Class 8 Fleet Management


Supply chains may involve a number of steps — manufacturing, importing, exporting, and transporting goods by air, land, and sea. That’s why improving sustainability in the supply chain can be so complicated. Unless everyone participates, progress may be slow, at best. 

With climate change now an undeniable reality, regulators have been increasingly rolling out rules to implement green logistics. In the trucking sector, those rules focus on reducing emissions, and the penalties for non-compliance could be significant. 

In this post, we’ll talk about why green logistics matters and how fleets are doing their part to improve sustainability in the supply chain. 

What Is Green Logistics?

Green logistics is the integration of environmentally friendly practices and systems that promote sustainability, reduce carbon footprint, and reduce waste. In the transportation sector, green logistics focuses on minimizing emissions and increasing fuel efficiency, while also operating within budget constraints. 

Why Is Green Logistics Important? 

Green logistics is not an option but a necessity. The benefits of embracing green logistics include reducing your fleet’s carbon footprint, decreasing fuel consumption, and lowering maintenance costs. Additional benefits include: 


The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has developed regulations that aim to achieve zero emissions for medium and heavy-duty fleets. The regulations require drayage vehicles to begin transitioning to zero-emission technology in 2024 and be fully compliant by 2035. Regardless of where a fleet is based, it must comply with CARB regulations if its trucks operate in California. 

Read more about emissions regulations — including a timeline of their development — in our related post.

Supply Chain Expectations

Some multinational corporations (MNCs) are increasing their efforts to improve corporate social responsibility, and part of that movement is taking a closer look at all of their supply chain relationships. A Harvard Business Review study found that several suppliers began working to reduce their carbon footprints, based on the scrutiny of MNCs.

Cost Savings

In June 2023, the American Transportation Research Institute reported that truck operating costs had reached an all-time high, with fuel costs accounting for $25.84 per hour, per vehicle. Even if implementing green technology requires an initial investment, it’s clear that improving fuel efficiency could dramatically reduce costs for large fleets.

Environmental Stewardship

Retrofitting trucks with fuel-saving technology could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50 million tons per year and reduce fuel consumption by 4.50 billion gallons per year. Those facts illustrate how the trucking sector could — with green technology that’s already available — have an immediate and positive impact on the environment.

Key Trends in Green Logistics for Class 8 Fleets

Now let’s look at how fleets are using technology to reduce their carbon footprint.

Emissions Monitoring Tools

Controlling emissions begins with understanding what your output is. Emissions monitoring technology collects information about MPG and fuel consumption for every truck in your fleet, and then stores it in a central dashboard. This data can help fleet managers spot vehicles with excessive emissions and calculate overall fleet CO2 emissions.

Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Alternative Fuel

EVs don’t burn fossil fuel, which makes them an appealing option for fleet managers looking to reduce fuel costs and carbon emissions. EV adoption may be sluggish, however, due to the high initial investment. Fleet managers looking to replace diesel trucks with EV trucks may be able to find tax breaks and other incentives that offset the investment costs.

Alternative fuel trucks — like those that run on compressed natural gas (CNG) — also offer lower emissions than diesel trucks. But CNG trucks can be refueled only at CNG stations, which are scarce in the far northwest and northeastern United States. Upgrading to CNG fleets may be an option in areas with CNG filling stations, but it may be years before CNG infrastructure is robust enough to support nationwide fleets. 

Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance uses telematics to monitor truck performance and driving conditions and alert fleet managers when maintenance is required. That means fleets can be proactive about maintenance and ensure trucks are running efficiently, rather than wait for costly breakdowns. 

Idle-Reduction Technology

Long-haul truckers are required by law to take rest breaks, and when resting, they may leave engines running to keep the cab at an optimal temperature. But rest-period idling produces about 11 million tons of CO2 per year, as well as harmful nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

Idle-reduction technologies aim to improve cab climate control without the engine running. Examples include:

  • Auxiliary power units that run on diesel, electricity, or alternative fuels
  • Diesel-powered cab or bunk heaters
  • Battery-electric air conditioners that recharge in transit and plug into external power at truck stops 

Simple Ways to Implement Green Logistics

Optimize Routes

Manual route-planning is inefficient, and relying on GPS alone won’t optimize routes because apps like Google Maps and Waze don’t “know” the variables that impact routes. For example, if drivers need to deliver multiple shipments at separate destinations between specific hours, a simple GPS tool doesn’t have the depth to plan the best route. 

Intelligent route-planning software can streamline routes to minimize drive time. It also helps prevent idle time — which can happen when drivers arrive too early to unload — and missed delivery windows. That increased efficiency saves fuel. 

Decrease Empty Miles

Here’s a scenario that happens frequently: A truck delivers a shipment to Point B then returns to its base at Point A. Another truck arrives at Point B to transport a shipment to Point A, then returns to Point B. In each case, a truck is racking up “empty miles,” which burns a lot of unnecessary fuel. 

Backhauling is a solution to this problem. Using a software solution, fleet managers can find loads for a truck’s return trip, which also boosts revenue. 

Reduce Aerodynamic Drag

Aerodynamic drag is unavoidable when traveling at highway speeds. But there are some ways to minimize the impact of aerodynamic drag, which can reduce fuel consumption significantly across large fleets. 

TruckWings is an aerodynamic device that easily installs on the rear of the cab and closes the gap between cab and trailer at speeds above 52 mph. The “wings” collapse flat against the cab when speed falls below 50 mph, so they never interfere with low-speed maneuverability. 

Each TruckWings device reduces CO2 emissions by 20,000 lbs per year and reduces fuel consumption by 3-6% per year — potentially millions of dollars in savings for a large fleet.  

Go Green With TruckLabs

TruckLabs created TruckWings out of a desire to make a positive impact on the environment. With TruckWings, you can improve your green logistics without replacing your entire fleet with EV or alt-fuel trucks. And if you do upgrade your fleet, you can use TruckWings to further improve the efficiency of your new trucks.