WASHINGTON — Three major truck manufacturers have joined forces to focus on education, advocacy and the construction of a nationwide infrastructure for medium-and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs).
Powering America’s Commercial Transportation (PACT) is established by Daimler Truck North America, Navistar and Volvo Group North America, who collectively represent approximately 70% of all new medium-and heavy-duty truck sales in the U.S., and who “are committed to ambitious electrification goals,” the companies said in a joint announcement on Wednesday, Jan. 31.
PACT’s “express purpose of overcoming the many barriers delaying access to ZEV infrastructure and enhancing national climate policies to address the infrastructure needs of medium-and heavy-duty ZEVs,” according to a news release.
Each original equipment manufacturer (OEM) has battery-electric vehicles in the marketplace, but access to charging infrastructure is an increasingly significant bottleneck to the widespread adoption of these technologies, PACT asserts.
Coalition membership is open to all stakeholders with an interest in accelerating the deployment of ZEVs and the requisite infrastructure, including other OEMs, infrastructure developers, electric utilities and grid operators and others.
Other founding members include ABB E-mobility, Burns & McDonnell, Greenlane, J.B. Hunt Transport, Prologis Inc. and Voltera.
“So far in the United States, transportation electrification has largely focused on the needs of light-duty passenger vehicles, a far different market segment that does not require the same unique considerations as medium-and heavy-duty,” the news release states. “Quickly deploying reliable and accessible ZEV infrastructure to power the nation’s commercial transportation fleet necessitates distinct considerations for capital investment, electrical grid upgrades and dedicated charging equipment.”
According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, nearly 600,000 chargers will support a projected 1.1 million class 4-8 medium-and heasvy-duty ZEVs anticipated to be deployed by 2030, which will consume 140,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per day or the equivalent of the daily energy used by 4.9 million American homes.
“Decarbonizing the commercial transportation sector — the fleets that keep America moving — is critical to meeting our nation’s climate goals. But the transition to zero-emission vehicles is stalling without the deployment of the needed charging infrastructure,” said John O’Leary, president and CEO of Daimler Truck North America. “Through PACT, we aim to accelerate this infrastructure buildout so that fleets can adopt ZEVs at scale and we can all benefit from impactful emissions reductions as quickly as possible.”
Mathias Carlbaum, president and CEO of Navistar, said that commercial vehicle customers require fast, reliable, affordable and convenient power to effectively deploy ZEV fleets at scale.
“To enable their success, 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,” he said. “PACT provides a concerted forum dedicated to making this vision a reality; truly working to accelerate the impact of sustainable mobility.”
Stephen Roy, chairman of Volvo Group North America and president of Mack Trucks, said that the scale of infrastructure required for medium- and heavy-duty EV adoption is unprecedented.
“Understanding and coordination across the different stakeholders is imperative to deploy chargers quickly and cost-effectively,” he said. “PACT will promote best practices to streamline this complex transition while minimizing impacts on fleets, utilities, and the economy.”
While supporting the deployment of commercial ZEV infrastructure, PACT members say they will not advocate for specific vehicle, power generation or utility distribution technologies.
“PACT exists to educate stakeholders about infrastructure challenges that hamper medium-and heavy-duty ZEV adoption in the marketplace and work with stakeholders to find solutions for the benefit of all interested parties,” according to the news release. “The Coalition also champions practical and efficient infrastructure solutions capable of supporting increasing M/HD ZEV deployments.”
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.