On Friday’s episode of Net-Zero Carbon, host Tyler Cole was joined by Adam Browning, board member and policy consultant at Forum Mobility, to talk about Forum’s building of an EV trucking-as-a-service (TaaS) platform for drayage fleets.
Forum is a startup focused in electrifying drayage in California to build a network of charging stations for heavy-duty trucks operating out of the ports in San Pedro and Oakland.
“I’ve got to come at this with a great deal of humbleness,” said Browning, “in that there have been a lot of great people doing a lot of great work for a long time to get the prospect of freight electrification of zero-emission transportation to where it is now, but collectively, we are at a point where the technology is not perfect, but it does exist.”
There are model options available coming to market that match duty cycles and needs of actual fleets today in long-haul transportation in ways that previous low-emission vehicles were not doing.
Asked whether demand for more zero-emissions technology is encouraging fleets to adopt the technology on customers’ behalf or if it is something that fleets are taking upon themselves, Browning said, “There is so much room for firsts. There is still an opportunity to be the first, be the biggest, to be the number one to go all-zero-emissions shipping. We hope to be the first all-zero-emissions drayage operators.”
Bringing the idea to life
When it comes to trucking-as-a-service, or “charging-as-a-service” as Browning calls it, a lot of variables have to come together to create a sustainable business proposition.
First is building the charging infrastructure in a location that makes sense, which makes finding a place with at least a couple of acres with ample access to power a must. Luckily, Forum has plenty of employees with experience in solar power to help out with any grid constraints that may arise.
There are, in some states, policies in place that call for more zero-carbon emissions.
In California, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard program levies a charge on high-carbon diesel to subsidize low-carbon diesel fuels.
Then there is developing the customer base. Often access to programs involving zero emissions is very difficult for smaller fleets to obtain, but Forum takes the incentives for charging and for the trucks themselves, then finances all the rest of the costs together into a bundle, creating one monthly fee for customers.