Three trucking heavyweights – Daimler Truck North America, Navistar, and Volvo Group North America – have combined forces under the banner “Powering America’s Commercial Transportation (PACT) coalition” to address the shortage of electric truck charging infrastructure in the country.
Together, these three companies account for about 70% of new medium- and heavy-duty (M/HD) truck sales in the U.S. The lack of adequate zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) charging facilities is hindering the transition to electric trucks, and the companies decided to tackle this barrier head-on through joint advocacy and lobbying efforts.
The 30% market share outside the coalition is largely held by Paccar Inc. It has opted not to participate in PACT for now. However, the coalition’s membership remains open to all interested stakeholders – OEMs, charging companies, utilities, infrastructure builders and operators, fleet owners, etc.
Several industry players have already jumped on board as founding members, like charging solutions firm ABB E-mobility, engineering company Burns & McDonnell, electric truck infrastructure JV Greenlane, trucking company J.B. Hunt Transport, real estate giant Prologis, and charging startup Voltera.
Decarbonizing Commercial Transportation is Critical to Climate Goals
“Decarbonizing the commercial transportation sector – the fleets that keep America moving – is critical to meeting our nation’s climate goals,” stated John O’Leary, CEO of Daimler Truck North America. “But the transition to zero-emission vehicles is stalling without the deployment of the needed charging infrastructure.”
The coalition aims to rapidly scale up the build-out of charging stations and power infrastructure so fleets can confidently adopt ZEVs and accelerate emissions reductions across the industry.
California is the Driving Force Behind Truck Electrification
So far, policy action and investment around transportation emissions has centered on passenger vehicles. But California’s aggressive move to phase out diesel trucks and achieve zero-emission trucking statewide by 2040 is proving to be a powerful driver.
Ten other states have signed on to California’s commercial vehicle emission regulations as well, which means trucks sold across nearly a quarter of the domestic market need to become cleaner. This is reshaping manufacturing priorities for truck OEMs and buying decisions for fleet operators.
Huge Gap Between ZEV Goals and Charging Realities
Industry analysts estimate around 1 million M/HD ZEV trucks will hit American roads by 2030 to meet various state-level regulations and broader decarbonization goals. But powering these vehicles will require a mammoth charging infrastructure with almost 700,000 public and private chargers.
These electric trucks would also consume over 140,000 megawatts of electricity per day – enough to power 100 million households for a month. This highlights the need for major utility investments and grid upgrades alongside the roll-out of vast charging hardware.
PACT seeks to bring together all sides of the equation and enable policies as well as private sector moves that can bridge the gap between ZEV aspirations and on-ground charging realities. Accelerating this infrastructure build-out is the coalition’s key priority.
Paccar Focuses on Turnkey Fleet Solutions
Meanwhile, Paccar sees its value-add as providing customers with end-to-end electrified transportation solutions tailored to their businesses.
“We offer turnkey solutions to our customers for their sites that need the ability to charge a truck. Our value add is to supply great equipment, support our customers, and keep them on the road…with superior uptime,” explained Paccar’s CTO John Rich. “We are not an electric utility. We are not an electric infrastructure supplier.”
This contrasts with Daimler’s approach of directly investing in public charging ventures like Electric Island and Greenlane. But Paccar believes it can best serve its customers and contribute to an electrified future by sticking to its core commercial vehicles business.
The paths chosen by these firms may differ, but via groups like PACT or through autonomous efforts, major truck makers agree on the urgent need to install an electric vehicle charging ecosystem for America’s trucks.
By leveraging their expertise and resources, Lading Logistics aims to provide efficient and reliable international shipping and logistics solutions for their clients.