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3 trucking majors combine to advance electric infrastructure

Daimler, Volvo and Navistar seek bigger incentives for truck charging

Three major truck makers and other stakeholders formed a new group to push for more electric truck infrastructure. (Photo: Daimler Truck North America)

Three of the nation’s largest medium- and heavy-duty truck makers snagged the apropos acronym PACT to advance electric truck infrastructure.

Powering America’s Commercial Transportation intends to address the mismatch between battery-electric vehicle availability and inadequate zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure.

PACT was established by Daimler Truck North America (DTNA), Navistar Inc. and Volvo Group North America. They collectively represent about 70% of new M/HD [medium-heavy duty truck sales in the U.S. Paccar Inc. holds most of the rest of the market share. It is not participating in the lobbying effort.

‘Critical to meeting our nation’s climate goals’

“Decarbonizing the commercial transportation sector — the fleets that keep America moving — is critical to meeting our nation’s climate goals,” John O’Leary, DTNA president and CEO, said in a news release. “But the transition to zero-emission vehicles is stalling without the deployment of the needed charging infrastructure.”

Coalition membership is open to all interested stakeholders, including other OEMs, infrastructure developers, electric utilities and grid operators.

Besides the truck makers, founding members include EV charging solutions provider ABB E-mobility, infrastructure engineering firm Burns & McDonnell, the Greenlane joint venture committing $650 million to build M/HD infrastructure, J.B. Hunt Transport Inc., real estate investment trust Prologis Inc., and electric infrastructure startup Voltera.

California drives manufacturing and fleet purchasing decisions

Transportation electrification largely focuses on light-duty passenger vehicles, whose sales are growing but much more slowly than expected. California regulations aimed at eliminating diesel trucks from the state’s roadways by 2040 drive manufacturing and fleet purchasing decisions. Ten states have adopted forms of California mandates.

Faster development and deployment of reliable and accessible ZEV infrastructure to power the nation’s commercial transportation fleet require a lot of money, electrical grid upgrades and dedicated charging equipment. According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, nearly 600,000 chargers would support a projected 1.1 million class 4-8 M/HD ZEVs anticipated to be deployed by 2030. That would consume 140,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per day. That’s equivalent to the daily energy used by 4.9 million American homes.

“Through PACT, we aim to accelerate this infrastructure buildout so that fleets can adopt ZEVs at scale and we can all benefit from impactful emissions reductions as quickly as possible,” O’Leary said.

PACT will help sort out and educate on the complex transition, said Stephen Roy, chairman of Volvo Group North America and president of Mack Trucks.

Paccar takes a pass

Paccar, which has not joined the coalition, does not see infrastructure development as a business priority.

“We really don’t view that as our value add,” John Rich, Paccar chief technology officer, told FreightWaves earlier this month. “We offer turnkey solutions to our customers for their sites that need the ability to charge a truck. Our value add is to supply great equipment, support our customers, and keep them on the road and have superior uptime.

“It’s how we contribute to the system today. It’s how we will contribute to an electrified, zero-carbon world in supporting that customer. We are not an electric utility. We are not an electric infrastructure supplier.”

By contrast, Daimler is a partner with BlackRock and NewEra Energy in Greenlane, which plans public M/HD charging infrastructure on the East and West coasts and in Texas. DTNA also operates a 5-megawatt Electric Island charging facility with Portland General Electric near the truckmaker’s Oregon headquarters.

Editor’s note: Corrects figures from the American Council on Clean Transportation, per PACT on Feb. 9.

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Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

One Comment

  1. Shrek

    the target is for 1 million ZEV in 6 years, and the daily energy demand to charge these vehicles equivalent to the monthly energy use of over 100 million American homes. With roughly 350 million people living in this country that’s the entire country if you use an average of 3.5 people per home. So if you follow the math that’s a 30 fold increase in electricity consumption. Where is the additional electricity coming from?

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Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.