NOAM: Daimler Trucks to form electric truck charging JV

Daimler Truck North America, NextEra Energy Resources and BlackRock have agreed to form a joint venture to build and operate high-performance energy infrastructure for battery electric and fuel cell commercial vehicles in the USA. It will likely become a megawatt-charger network.

The partners plan to start the joint activities this year and build the first charging stations in 2023. The planned funding is around 650 million dollars (about €580Mn), which the three companies will provide in equal parts.

First, the joint venture is to establish a network of charging stations on freight routes along the east and west coasts and in Texas by 2026, also leveraging existing infrastructure and amenities while adding complementary greenfield sites, as stated in the press release. The initial focus will be on charging stations for battery-electric medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicles, followed by hydrogen refuelling stations for fuel cell trucks. Technical details remain scarce, however.

The companies expect the joint venture to benefit from the experience of its founding members, most notably Daimler Trucks. The company is developing electric trucks and hopes to produce the battery-electric Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 in 2022/23. What is more, Daimler Trucks is piloting truck charging sites through its affiliate DNTA. In cooperation with the local utility company Portland General Electric (PGE), DTNA opened a public charging site for commercial vehicles in Portland, OR.

In Europe, Daimler Trucks has chosen a similar strategy when confirming the formation of a joint venture with the Traton Group and the Volvo Group to establish and operate a public charging network for battery-electric heavy-duty long-haul trucks last December. When announcing the JV at the time, Martin Daum, the Daimler Truck CEO, said the deal was “great news for the transport industry and society, as it underlines all of the partners’ strong commitment to making CO2-neutral trucks a reality. It is remarkable that three fierce competitors in the area of trucks and vehicle technology are taking action together to start establishing the needed charging infrastructure.”

The same could be said for the plans in North America, and sure enough, in today’s announcement, Daimler Trucks pointed out that the planned joint venture was “the latest in a line of partnerships proving Daimler Trucks’ continuous efforts to strategically align with top tier players in the field of key transformation technologies.”

Talking of key technologies, Daimler Truck and the Volvo Group are also working together in the fuel cell joint venture Cellcentric in Europe. Daimler Trucks is also putting in considerable investment in hydrogen infrastructure. A recent deal with Total Energies will see Daimler work together with the oil company to develop hydrogen infrastructure for heavy trucks in the European Union.

The other partners in North America appear primarily on board as investors. NextEra Energy Resources is an investor in electric infrastructure and brings experience optimizing renewable energy and grid integration. BlackRock Renewable Power claims it operates one of the world’s largest renewable power equity investment platforms. They seek to invest over $9.5 billion across the spectrum of renewable power and are committed to over 350 wind and solar projects across 15 countries and five continents. In terms of e-mobility, BlackRock is also invested in Ionity since the Group partook in a 700-million-euro investment round closed in November 2021.


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