The Trans-American Race to Build Chargers for Electric Trucks
More than it is Typical even for technology entrepreneurs, Neha Palmer is in the business of predicting the future. TeraWatt Infrastructure, a San Francisco-based startup unicorn, is betting on the idea that businesses, from taxi drivers to e-retailers, will one day have large fleets of electric trucks, cars, and vans — and need a place to go which they can be charged. Palmer’s strategy is to figure out where to start building chargers now, a process that could take years to meet that future need.
It is pretty certain that there will be many people who want to load in the future. The US government has set a goal to reduce pollution from buses, trucks and vans by more than half by 2045, a shift that will require a significant increase in the number of zero-emission vehicles on the road. Heavy, energy-hungry trucks, which account for almost 10 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions, are a particularly attractive target. However, choosing where to invest in infrastructure before many of these vehicles have even been manufactured is a challenge.
TeraWatt analyzes zoning plans and highway usage data, and monitors government incentives for electrification, such as California’s particularly ambitious green targets for trucks and vans. (The state is targeting all zero-emissions sales by 2045.) He’s talking to electricity providers about where it will be easiest to pump massive amounts of electricity — potentially a small town’s worth — into an electric truck in the time it takes the driver down a sandwich and a coke.
Sometimes the selection process is more organic. “You know it in your bones when you stand on the corner and see the traffic coming through,” says Palmer. “You know it’s a good place.” TeraWatt has built stations in 19 states and has also acquired land for seven charging stations along the freight-heavy Interstate 10, which connects the bustling Port of Long Beach, California alongside Los Angeles with El Paso, Texas. at the Mexican border.
TeraWatt is part of a heating land grab as companies try to stake out charging stations for future commercial fleets of trucks, vans and cars. According to Atlas Public Policy, a think tank, private companies have pledged more than $16 billion to build fleet and personal vehicle charging infrastructure in North America over the next decade.
TeraWatt’s plans also include networks of fleet charging stations on key freight routes along the east and west coasts of the United States. Auto yard operator Pilot Company has announced plans with Volvo and General Motors to install thousands of truck charging stations across the US, and its competitor TravelCenters of America says it will install 1,000 by 2028. A group of nine utilities in three western US states have planned a route with 27 charging stations for medium and heavy vehicles along Interstate 5; a first location, a kind of test bed, was opened in Portland in 2021.
Governments are fueling the frenzy. Last summer’s anti-inflation law offers financial and tax incentives for building zero-emission fleets and infrastructure. And the Feds will reportedly give California, and any states that plan to follow, special permission to set their own stricter truck emissions regulations.
https://www.wired.com/story/the-trans-american-race-to-build-chargers-for-electric-trucks/ The Trans-American Race to Build Chargers for Electric Trucks