Where we're at with battery electric trucks

Where we’re at with battery electric trucks

Battery electric trucks are available and charging infrastructure is hard to come by, so where does that leave us?

Let’s cut to the EV chase, here’s how battery electric truck adoption is shaking out from the view of Rakesh Aneja, head of eMobility, Daimler Truck North America:

“At Daimler Truck, we’ve been working on zero emission transformation for the last several years, and we are at the point where we have several battery electric vehicle models that are in series production today. We have 10 [electric truck] models in production globally and four in production in the United States. Having said that, at least from our perspective, the transformation is slower than what we would expect and what we would hope.”

It’s a sentiment that’s echoed throughout the truck manufacturing world and there’s one big sticking point: Infrastructure. There’s the potential for misalignment between vehicle availability and infrastructure readiness that poses a significant hurdle to adoption. For instance, while a fleet can receive a production vehicle within a few months of placing an order, the timeline for developing the corresponding charging infrastructure, particularly when substations are required, can extend from two to six years, and in some cases, up to 10 years.

While there are challenges ahead, there’s still a road toward broader adoption for electric trucks. Aneja pointed to DTNA’s Detroit e-consult service, aiming to bridge the gap between the production of electric trucks and the development of charging infrastructure. This service is designed to foster collaboration among various stakeholders, including truck manufacturers, customers, charging equipment providers, utility companies and construction firms. Through Detroit e-consult, DTNA assists in navigating the complexities of electrification, offering services that range from assessing the feasibility of electrification for specific applications to planning and executing the necessary infrastructure projects.

“In my diesel world, I rarely had to worry about diesel fuel infrastructure besides the occasional fuel quality discussions,” he noted, “In the battery electric world, you have us as the truck OEM, our customers, the charging equipment provider, the utility company that brings energy to the site, the construction company that actually does the work–this group of four or five stakeholders haven’t necessarily worked together in the past. That’s where e-consult, Detroit e-consult fills the void to offer multiple levels services to our customers, customized to their needs, through a single point of contact that’s enabling all these conversations to take place among these various stakeholders.”

It means answering questions like:

Is your application even a fit for electrification?
What type of electric truck would fit that application?
Can it do the job?
What range it offers?
What infrastructure you need at the site?
How many chargers, what type and what power capacity do you need?

And that’s just to name a few. Rakesh sat down to talk through battery electric truck adoption, answering customer questions and elaborated on the recent announcement of a joint venture between Accelera by Cummins, Daimler Trucks & Buses US Holding LLC and PACCAR to further battery cell production and the battery supply chain in the U.S. Watch the video above for all of his EV insight.

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No script? No plan? No problem. Welcome to Fleet Equipment Unscripted—the video interview series that connects you with the greatest minds in the heavy-duty trucking world. Fleet Equipment Unscripted is sponsored by Hendrickson.

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