California environmental agencies plan to launch what they claim will be the largest deployment of heavy-duty electric commercial trucks in North America thus far.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), California Air Resources Board (CARB), and California Energy Commission (CEC) will fund deployment of 100 electric trucks under the project, dubbed Joint Electric Truck Scaling Initiative (JETSI), according to a joint press release.
Trucks will be operated by fleets NFI Industries and Schneider in medium-haul and drayage service on Southern California highways. The fleet will include 80 Freightliner eCascadia and 20 Volvo VNR Electric semi trucks.
Freightliner eCascadia electric semi-truck
NFI and Electrify America will partner on charging, with 34 DC fast-charging stations slated for installation by December 2023, according to an Electrify America press release. This will be the largest charging-infrastructure project yet supporting heavy-duty electric trucks, the partners claim.
The 150-kw and 350-kw fast-charging stations will be located at NFI's Ontario, California, facility. Solar arrays and energy-storage systems will also be located onsite to increase reliability and further use of renewable energy, Electrify America said.
The stakeholders aren't yet planning for the Megawatt Charging System (MCS) that's under development elsewhere, Electrify America confirmed to Green Car Reports. The company did note that "We are actively participating in CharIN’s Megawatt charging system development taskforce."
Volvo VNR Electric semi truck
The JETSI projects focus on shorter-haul trucks could prove more sensible than an emphasis on long-haul trucks at this stage. Some relatively recent analyses have suggested that long-haul electric semis aren't yet cost-effective—although short- and medium-haul trucks, with their smaller battery packs, are.
California is pushing ahead with zero-emission commercial vehicles. An electric truck stop is also under development in Bakersfield, and California is leading a 15-state coalition that aims to make all new heavy-duty trucks electric by 2050.