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NACFE explores electric truck charging needs


TORONTO, Ont. – Buying an electric truck involves more than adding batteries and electric motors to a powertrain. The vehicles will also require access to charging infrastructure that is just beginning to emerge.

The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) has come forward with a report outlining exactly what to consider when planning such a charging network – basing the findings on interviews with electric truck builders, fleets, engineering organizations, charging equipment suppliers, and various groups exploring charging standards.

Amping Up: Charging Infrastructure for Electric Trucks covers infrastructure basics ranging from hardware and software to maintenance, as well as charging speeds, charger communications, and charging locations.

Fleets will largely be responsible for their own charging strategies in the near term.

“Electric truck charging, for the foreseeable future is going to be private – it’s going to be at the depot or what we call return-to-base charging,” says the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Jessie Lund, the report’s lead author.

Wider charging networks are not expected to be a reality for the foreseeable future. That requires some careful planning alongside local utility providers.

“Fleets should work directly with their utilities throughout the process,” Lund says, referring to the electrical distribution needs that could affect transformers, conduits, and even meter designs. “Utilities are going to need to be partners throughout the planning and deployment stages.”

Smart charging software – which helps different chargers to communicate with one another – will help determine how much power a truck is needed and when it will be charged. That can help to minimize infrastructure and operating costs alike, and minimize the demand charges that could be applied, she says. Lund also warns that fleets tend to over-emphasize the hardware needed for charging stations, but under-emphasize related repairs, maintenance and software.

There doesn’t seem to be much concern about whether the electrical grid could support a growing number of electric vehicles, however. Some capacity already exists today, and other energy-efficient solutions are expected to create additional room. “We wouldn’t need a ton of additional generation,” she says.

“The trucks can’t be built that fast,” adds NACFE executive director Mike Roeth. “We don’t see that as a show stopper.”

Some utility providers are even actively promoting the use of electric vehicles. In the U.S., South California Edison has introduced a new program to suspend demand charges for five years.

In the future, such price premiums could be offset by fleets that generate and store their own energy on site, Lund says. Some academics are even looking at the potential of using parked electric vehicles as the storage systems for renewable energy.

This is NACFE’s third guidance report on emerging and future technologies, and it is available at www.nacfe.org.

 


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1 Comment » for NACFE explores electric truck charging needs
  1. Dave Eccles says:

    Excessive extra cost of diesel fuel coming due to pollution will accelerate other energy sources.
    Although electrical energy from batteries is available now the additional weight, range, cost, resale value, recharge time & charging facilities will always be a factor.
    From recent reports it appears that all vehicle manufacturers believe hydrogen is the only future fuel that addresses all the battery short comings with zero omissions except pure water if energy to produce is from solar, wind, excess nuclear or other clean sources.
    Hydrogen as an energy source for cars is a major fuel in Japan & a lessor extent in other countries including USA, Canada with plans to accelerate as the fueling facilities increase.
    Nicola have orders for over $11 billion tractors & plan fueling facilities across North America.
    Major tractor manufacturers are testing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in partnership with others.
    Germany has a fuel cell train in successful operation, British Rail plan to use this system to replace diesel also Ontario are considering this to replace diesel as there is no overhead wires required at a significant cost saving.
    Ontario recently announced they will provide funding for up to 3 hydrogen fueling facilities.
    Fuel cell use is expected to accelerate as the fueling points increase.
    Battery power with all it’s issues is available now but could eventually be replaced except for local uses only.

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