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Truck-focused Electric Island charging site opens in Portland, Oregon

First 8 charging stations up and running; 1-megawatt chargers coming

A Freightliner eCascadia charges at one of the eight electric vehicle charging stations that Daimler Trucks North American and Portland General Electric opened near DTNA headquarters. (Photo: Daimler Trucks North America)

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) and Portland General Electric (PGE) opened their Electric Island charging project near the truck maker’s Oregon headquarters Wednesday. It is part of a larger three-state electrification effort catering to battery-powered trucks.

The manufacturer of Freightliner and Western Star trucks, DTNA and the utility are trying to learn about zero-emission heavy-duty truck charging from tank to wheel by:

  • Using Megawatt Charging System (MCS) prototype chargers that deliver electricity four times faster than today’s fastest light-duty vehicle chargers.
  • Integrating heavy-duty charging technology such as vehicle-to-grid technologies, second-life use of Daimler’s battery packs and on-site energy generation into PGE’s Smart Grid.
  • Testing fleet and energy management information technology by captive solutions and services. 

The first eight charging stations, most of which are open to the public, can charge electric cars, buses, box vans and semi-trucks at to 150kW and soon at 350kW, the highest in current use. The first chargers were provided by ChargePoint Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CHPT), ABB (NYSE: ABB) , BTC Power and Proterra

Daimler and PGE expect the island will help accelerate the development, testing and deployment of zero-emissions commercial vehicles, specifically those manufactured at DTNA’s nearby Portland Truck Assembly Plant. 

Part of border-to-border corridor

DTNA recently began taking orders for the Class 8 Freightliner eCascadia and medium-duty Class 6 eM2 for delivery in 2022. It has a total of 38 of those models in testing with fleets in Southern California, where they have amassed more than 750,000 miles of driving.

The island serves as an innovation center for PGE and DTNA to study energy management, charger use and performance. It is located across the street from DTNA headquarters and less than a mile from Interstate 5 that runs from the Canadian border to the Mexican border.

Electric Island is wired for 5 megawatts of charging capacity. It is aligned to the blueprint of the West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative, a collaboration of nine electric utilities and two government agencies to provide public charging along 1,300 miles of I-5 across Washington, Oregon and California.

Evolving and testing

Electric Island is expected to evolve. Current chargers will be replaced with 1-plus megawatt chargers when they are available. The national Renewable Energy Lab and the Charging Interface Initiative evaluated prototype MCS connectors last September.

Also being developed is on-site energy storage, solar power generation and a product and technology showcase building.

“Our partnership with Daimler Trucks North America shows how working together we can accelerate the clean energy transition,” Maria Pope, president and CEO of PGE, said in a press release.

Volvo Group EV training center

Separately, Volvo Group siblings Mack Trucks and Volvo Trucks North America announced Tuesday the opening of a training center in Hayward, California, near San Francisco to help employees, technicians, customers and dealers get familiar with their electric trucks.

The Volvo VNR Electric has more than 100 orders for delivery beginning this year. Mack is taking orders for its LR Electric refuse hauler.

Daimler and PGE creating Electric Island for truck charging

Volvo gets first double-digit order for electric trucks

Mack will sell electric garbage trucks in 2021

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.


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.