WattEV, NFI Fleet and Charging Deals Bolster Electric Trucking

September 01, 2021 by Jerry Hirsch, @Jerryhirsch

Electric trucking startup WattEV Inc. and motor carrier NFI Industries both announced plans to add electric trucks and charging infrastructure to transition to sustainable operations at Southern California’s ports.

WattEV Inc. said it has secured a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission to build the state’s first solar-powered truck stop for heavy-duty electric trucks and expects to break ground on the project in late October.

WattEV also announced at the ACT Expo clean transportation conference in Long Beach Tuesday that has secured purchase incentive vouchers from the  California Air Resources Board to purchase six Volvo VNR Electric Class 8 tractors and has applied for 24 more electric truck vouchers.

The deals are part of the El Segundo, Calif., company’s efforts to launch an electric trucking and charging network.

CLEANING UP PORT TRAFFIC

The first electric truck stop will be located in Bakersfield. WattEV plans similar projects in San Bernardino and Gardena in Southern California. Both will serve the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach and local warehouses.

“The electric truck stop in Bakersfield is the first step toward our commitment to help build the charging infrastructure network necessary to accelerate the heavy-duty trucking sector’s transition to electric drive and to get more heavy-duty electric trucks on the road in California as quickly as possible,” said Salim Youssefzadeh, chief executive of WattEV.

The company’s goal is to deploy 12,000 electric heavy-duty trucks by 2030, he said.

Others are looking to deploy electric trucks as California moves to wean port traffic off of diesel-fueled trucks.

The Los Angeles and Long Beach port complex is the largest trade gateway for containerized cargo in North America. The ports handle 20 percent of all U.S.-bound cargo. But particulate and Co2 emissions from the 16,000 trucks entering and leaving the ports daily are responsible for poor air quality in the port region and along the highways they travel to inland distribution centers. California is pushing truck companies and shippers to reduce pollution and plans to eventually ban diesel trucks.

NFI MOVES TO ELECTRIC TRUCKS

There are multiple electric and hydrogen fuel cell truck programs underway at the port complex and surrounding region.

Also at ACT Expo, Electrify America and NFI Industries said they would build the nation’s single largest charging infrastructure project for heavy-duty electric trucks at a distribution center in Ontario, Calif.  It will have 34 ultra-fast DC chargers and is slated for completion by December 2023.

NFI said it will deploy 60 battery-electric drayage trucks for transport between the ports and the distribution center. That would make it the first 100 percent zero-emission fleet operator and truck shop in California.

WattEV said it will operate 30 electric trucks for Southern California fleet customers by the end of this year.

So far it has only announced a deal with Total Transportation Services Inc. The motor carrier is looking at switching to electric trucks for its operations at the ports and in Bakersfield. It will start by offering electric trucking to shippers in Southern California on routes served by WattEV’s platform.

WattEV plans to offer electric transport via trucks-as-a-service platform that leverages routes and charging stations. The sales pitch is that it will be a transport service that can help shippers meet sustainability goals.

The platform will work as an all-inclusive, charge-per-mile formula that will enable a transporter to move goods normally handled with diesel trucks on the routes selected by shippers

Jerry Hirsch August 31, 2021
Hino Trucks unveiled its XL8 prototype hydrogen fuel cell Class 8 truck it is developing with Toyota at the ACT Expo on Tuesday.

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