A friend told me that Lithium Ion batteries are not powerful enough to power trucks because they will not be able to produce enough torque. Is that true?
Did he also tell you electric cars can't be fast?
Unless your friend is Elon Musk, I would take it with a grain of salt. There are companies trying to build electric trucks and there are companies building electric buses.
Simple answer to OP is no. That is not true.
@Timo does have the simple answer. The expanded answer is that an electric motor in a truck could be sized such that it produces more torque than any other truck out there. The downside of an electric truck at this point is cost. Doing really heavy work like a truck would need to do consumes a lot of energy, so to have a good amount of range, it would need a really big battery pack. At the moment, battery costs are still pretty high, so that would make for a really expensive truck. In several more years, it will be a good possibility when battery costs are lower.
They exist, eg viamotors.com, torque is not an issue, price and weight is. You need several times the batteries of chevy volt or Tesla model S to get similar characteristics which means several times the price added.
Pickup trucks or big rigs?
Big rigs are very underpowered but get torque with gearing. Batteries dont make torque. Motors and gearing do.
Wrightspeed is another truck/HD rig builder, with a former connection to Tesla Motors way back when.
Diesel locomotives and those huge trucks used in mines are serial hybrids. Replace ICE and generator with (big enough) battery and you have same result.
Liebherr T 282B has 2722 kW of power. Model S 85kWh battery produces around 400-500kW. Probably 400kW continuously with enough cooling. So seven of those can give you that 2722kW. If we assume 450kg/pack that's 3150kg. For a truck that weights 554 tons that's nothing, especially that you can then remove the engine, generator and all that.
However for 200 gallons / hour usage... estimation...if we assume Model S would be around 20mpg car with ICE at 60mph consumption and it uses 15kW at that speed and that is 10 times that, so 150kWh is required for just one hour of operation. 7 * 85kWh is 595kWh / 150kWh = a bit under four hours.
Not that bad actually, Liebherr T 282B fuel tank size is just 1250 gallons and with 200 gallons / hour that lasts 6 hours and 15 minutes.
So increase battery by 50% for around 900kWh. Assuming $100/kWh 900*100 = $90000. Expensive, but with 200gallons / hour with $4 / gallon that pays itself back in less than a year depending how much electricity costs.
You only need battery of superchargers in that mine to charge that 900kW.
Why not a dual-use concept for transports.
Most intercity routes could be serviced with a part diesel/ part electric. Initial & final city portions could be majority diesel with electric for idling. Highway use could be using electric for the majority of the trip - flat & downhill portions, diesel on uphill portions & speed maintenance. Yard transports should have access to re-charge as well as "Idling Times".
Combination of battery storage, thin film solar for recharge as well as regenerative braking.
As well re-charging stations could be utilized with thin-film charging direct to battery storage.
Any truck savings as well as any "Off-Grid Charging method" save twice in both diesel use as well as off-grid charging.
Thin-Film should have increased surface areas available on the transport, trailers as well as huge transport warehouse roofs.
As speed recharge of transport batteries from these yard "Trickle Charge" battery stations/ filled in part by thin film storage would be a huge help.
Updates in batteries, thin-film & transport/ trailer weights are all to be addressed on an ongoing basis.
No "One" system is ever going to work in all instances but a combination system is a vast improvement on where we're at now.