Einride, the Swedish autonomous trucking startup, unveiled a new vehicle type that the company hopes to have on the road delivering freight starting in 2021. The vehicles, dubbed Autonomous Electric Transport (AET), came in four different variations. And much like Einride’s previous prototypes, they come without steering wheels, pedals, windshields, and, in general, no cab at all.
Einride has been in the business of releasing interesting, eye-catching prototype vehicles since it was founded in 2016. There was the cab-less T-Pod, released in 2017, four of which are operating on public roads hauling freight for Oatly, the Swedish food producer. A year later, the company unveiled the T-Log, built to be more powerful than its predecessor for the job of (you guessed it) hauling tons of giant tree logs. Now it has a next-generation vehicle that it hopes it can put into production.
Einride’s also been engaged with the less glamorous part of the job, which is testing, validating, and seeking regulatory approval for its vehicles, all of which are electric and can be controlled remotely by a human operator, in addition to operating autonomously without human intervention. The company has yet to reveal its plans for production and manufacturing.
Design-wise, the AET vehicles look almost identical to Einride’s Pod (previously T-Pod) prototype: sleek, white, cab-less pods with smooth lines and an otherworldly feel. Einride CEO Robert Falck said the AET is more aerodynamic than previous iterations, which will help when the company starts to scale up its manufacturing. “When you nail a design the first time, why reinvent the wheel?” Falck said.
The new AET vehicles come in four levels. The first two — AET 1 and AET 2 — have top speeds of 30 km/h (18 mph), weigh 26 tons, have payloads of 16 tons, and a battery range
Last week, California Governor Gavin Newson leaned over the hood of a Ford Mustang Mach-E and signed an executive order saying that all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the state must be emission-free by 2035.
The new mandate doesn’t necessarily mean that California car dealers would, literally, sell nothing but fully electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles 15 years from now, several experts say.
That is the goal, though. And it’s not entirely out of the question, said Nick Albanese, a researcher with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
“I think California’s target is ambitious, but feasible,” he wrote in an email. “Even before this announcement, we forecast passenger EVs to account for 52% of total US passenger vehicle sales in 2035 and 61% in 2040.”
Of course, there are many hurdles to overcome on the road to an emission-free auto market, including a widely available charging infrastructure, affordability, and lots of legal fine points.
With 15 years until the mandate goes into effect, there’s plenty of time for negotiation, and we will likely see Newsom’s goal softened or the deadline extended, said Chelsea Sexton, an analyst who covers the electric vehicle market.
“It will take a few years, literally, for this headline to be clarified,” she said.
Can California legally do this?
The federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency has already publicly challenged Newsom