DNTA, Volvo Trucks and Navistar to push for heavy-duty chargers

A mighty coalition is forming in the USA to advance charging infrastructure for commercial vehicles. Daimler Truck North America, Volvo Group and Navistar established a lobby organisation called Powering America's Commercial Transportation (PACT). 

Image: Daimler Truck

The challenge on their website looks simple: “The country’s infrastructure readiness, ZEV-focused goals, and enabling regulations are not in sync.” PACT has come to change this through education, advocacy, collaboration, and leadership.

Membership, therefore, is open to all stakeholders interested in accelerating the deployment of electric commercial vehicles and the necessary infrastructure, including other OEMs, infrastructure developers, utilities, grid operators and others.

Other founding members include infrastructure providers ABB E-Mobility, BC Hydro, Burns & McDonnell, Greenlane, Prologis and Voltera.

DNTA further lists the “express purpose of overcoming the many barriers delaying access to ZEV infrastructure and enhancing national climate policies to address the infrastructure needs of medium-duty and heavy-duty electric vehicles”.

Of these, there will be plenty. Daimler Truck claims they represent approximately 70 per cent of all new truck sales in the USA, together with Navistar and Volvo Group North America. 

The Groups are also committed to electrifying the range. DNTA, for example, sells the Class 8 eCascadia truck through its US label Freightliner increasingly successfully. 

Volvo Trucks and its subsidiary Mach Trucks have a range of electric trucks in the portfolio, available through subscription services and a growing dealer network. In Sweden, Volvo recently launched a navigation service for electric trucks that finds suitable charging stations, like a heavy-duty ZapMap. The company said, at the time, that other markets would follow.

Staying in Europe, Volvo Trucks is also a founding member of Milence, alongside Daimler Truck and Traton. Traton, by the way, belongs to Volkswagen Group and owns Navistar, so truly, PACT is a coalition of old acquaintances. In the old world, the joint venture wants to build its own network for trucks and coaches. Milence is putting half a billion euros towards truck charging stops in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Norway, and Sweden.

However, PACT will not install infrastructure in the USA but focus on open advocacy. “While supporting the deployment of commercial ZEV infrastructure, PACT will not advocate for specific vehicle, power generation, or utility distribution technologies,” reads the statement. DNTA adds that the coalition exists to educate stakeholders about infrastructure challenges and work with stakeholders to find solutions for the benefit of all interested parties.

And there are enormous challenges. The partners quote the International Council on Clean Transportation. The ICCT estimates nearly 700,000 chargers will be needed nationwide to accommodate the one million Class 4-8 M/HD ZEVs anticipated to be deployed by 2030, which will consume 140,000 megawatts of electricity every day, equivalent to the monthly energy needs of over 100 million American homes. 

“The scale of infrastructure required for medium- and heavy-duty EV adoption is unprecedented,” confirms Stephen Roy, chairman of Volvo Group North America and president of Mack Trucks. “Understanding and coordination across the different stakeholders is imperative to deploy chargers quickly and cost-effectively.” He expects PACT to “promote best practices to streamline this complex transition while minimising impacts on fleets, utilities, and the economy.”

Mathias Carlbaum, president and CEO of Navistar, adds, “We must work collaboratively across sectors to deliver an infrastructure that provides access to seamless electricity and meets the commercial transportation industry’s unique needs. PACT provides a concerted forum dedicated to making this vision a reality, truly working to accelerate the impact of sustainable mobility.”

daimlertruck.com, pactcoalition.org


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