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Action on EV charging infrastructure needed for electric future

(Image: ChargePoint)

When President Biden signed the $1.2 trillion infrastructure law in November, he also established the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula program. The program sets aside $5 billion — which will be distributed among the states — over five years. The law also includes $2.5 billion for a separate competitive grant program. Both are aimed at the administration’s goal of deploying 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations by 2030.

In most states, passenger vehicles have long been the primary focus of electrification efforts, while trucking companies have been waiting for their seat at the table. Fleet operators are beginning to focus on making sure the charging infrastructure necessary to deploy MHDV electric trucks at scale is available where and when it’s needed – especially now, as electrification is all but inevitable.

As fleet operators begin to incorporate electric trucks into their fleets, they are turning their attention to two areas: regulations and infrastructure.

The Volvo Group — which is dedicated to eliminating tailpipe emissions by 2050 — encouraged the federal government to take up the mantle of heavy-duty EV infrastructure. The company recommended that states consider building out charging infrastructure alongside existing facilities like truck stops.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) has urged the Federal Highway Administration to consider how to provide charging infrastructure to the 97% of trucking companies that are defined as small businesses, according to recent reporting from FreightWaves’ John Gallagher

On the infrastructure and deployment side, ChargePoint is well positioned to provide its EV charging solutions to meet the upcoming demand. The company offers a comprehensive product line that eases the transition to electric and integrates into existing fleet operations. The company recently partnered with the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) to prepare its nearly 4,000-member companies with the technical expertise needed to further accelerate deployment of EV charging infrastructure.

States too are beginning to focus on accelerating the deployment of electric MHDVs, as well as how to overcome some MHDV-specific barriers to installing and deploying EV charging infrastructure.

Multiple states across the nation have banded together to create policies and plan for transitions to a zero-emission future. In 2021, a total of six states had passed the ACT regulation, requiring 40% of Class 7-8 tractors to be classified as ZEVs by model year 2032.

Most recently, 17 states – plus Washington D.C. and Quebec – collaborated on The Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero-Emission Vehicle Action Plan. The initiative, which recently released an action plan, covers a broad range of topics, including encouraging state-funded financial incentives for fleet conversion and developing charging infrastructure.

The plan also includes a call for manufacturers to grow their zero-emission sales up to 75% by 2035 and mentions the need for coordinated planning and development as more electric heavy-duty trucks come online amongst utilities, municipalities and charging providers. This type of collaboration is already underway.

New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities is developing a straw proposal for how electric utilities can support the deployment of MHDV EV charging by the private market, while the Massachusetts legislature is debating legislation that would create new sources of capital funding to support the deployment of vehicles and EV chargers for MHDVs.

Meanwhile, the California Public Utilities Commission broke new ground in May, approving new rules that will ensure utilities provide “utility-side make-ready” infrastructure, which will help to reduce the upfront costs of installing charging infrastructure, including for medium and heavy duty applications.

As states begin to see the benefits of electric vehicles and EV-friendly policies adopted by their neighbors, expect more to follow suit, resulting in increased financial support for fleets nationwide.  

Additionally, private organizations are already taking steps to increase charging access.  ChargePoint has been partnering with the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO) – the trade association for truck stops and travel plazas – since 2020 to build a network of 4,000 off-highway charging stations by 2030. The plan includes bringing charging infrastructure to oft-overlooked rural America, a critical step in making electric trucks a viable solution on a larger scale.

Even with the availability of public charging infrastructure, many fleet operators will need to deploy their own EV charging stations. Early adopters are already beginning to install charging infrastructure at distribution sites, often with the help of government incentives and grants.

Still, the availability of on-route, public charging will be critical for those companies running long-haul operations. Partnering with a company like ChargePoint that works with fleets at every stage of conversion, creates a pathway to attainable charging infrastructure at the warehouse, on-route, and at home to satisfy the needs of every fleet.

Click here to learn more about how ChargePoint is electrifying the supply chain.

Ashley Coker

Ashley is interested in everything that moves, especially trucks and planes. She covers air cargo, trucking and sponsored content. She studied journalism at Middle Tennessee State University and worked as an editor and reporter at two daily newspapers before joining FreightWaves. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.
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