WattEV Grows Electric Truck Program for Carriers, Seeks More Charging Infrastructure

WattEV Electric Truck

(Credit: Volvo)

by | Mar 25, 2022

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WattEV Electric Truck

(Credit: Volvo)

WattEV is adding 50 electric trucks to support its truck-as-a-service program, which provides shippers and carriers access to the battery electric vehicles, as it also looks to expand charging infrastructure.

The program, being offered in California, provides the trucks at a per-mile rate, including charging, that WattEV says is comparable to the cost of operating diesel trucks. The company ordered Class 8 Volvo VNR Electric trucks to enhance the program.

To build its truck-as-a-service (TaaS) model, WattEV is adding a public network of heavy-duty electric truck charging depots to major transportation corridors to connect shipping ports with freight distribution centers and warehouse locations. The first public truck charging locations will feature 250 kilowatt CCS chargers, which can give the Volvo trucks an 80% charge in 90 minutes.

Eventually, WattEV plans nationwide charging networks that provide 1.2 megawatts of capacity. The company’s goal is to have 12,000 electric transport trucks on the road in California by 2030 and more than 100 charging stations throughout the US by 2035.

With the electric heavy commercial vehicle market expected to reach $370 billion annually by 2030, according to Guidehouse Insights, charging infrastructure is key to widespread implementation of electric transport. A survey by the Climate Group found that 67% of sited lack of charging infrastructure as a barrier to installing electric fleets.

Installing charging infrastructure is a big piece of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed last year as well, with $7.5 billion going toward charging network development.

Medium and heavy duty trucks make up fewer than 5% of the vehicles on the road but more than 20% of the emissions by the transportation industry, according to the Department of Energy. The DOE says by 2030, nearly half the vehicles will be cheaper to buy, operate and maintain than traditional diesel-powered trucks.

The DOE has also invested in the clean transport transition with more than half of a $199 million clean transportation program going to its SuperTruck 3 initiative, which aims to improve medium- and heavy-duty truck efficiencies and reduce emissions of freight transportation.

Volvo has been a significant player, contributing to the increase the heavy-duty electric truck market. The company, which has sustainability goals that also include the vehicles and charging infrastructure, has also provided several large orders of electric trucks to European shipping company DFDS.

The Volvo VNR Electric trucks ordered by WattEV have a six-battery package featuring increased energy storage of 565 kilowatt hours and have a range of up to 275 miles. The order was facilitated by TEC Equipment Fontana.

The trucks will operate routes between California’s San Joaquin Valley, Inland Empire and the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

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