PORTLAND, Ore. — As the automotive industry accelerates the delivery of electrified truck models, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) and Portland General Electric (PGE) are teaming up to create a first-of-its-kind public charging station for medium and heavy-duty electric commercial trucks. Black & Veatch, a provider of zero-emission vehicle transportation solutions, is now working to bring Portland, Oregon’s “Electric Island” project online to demonstrate high-power charging infrastructure scaled to accommodate electric trucks and large batteries capable of moving up to 80,000 pounds at highway speeds.
“’Electric Island’ is a perfect example of what the future looks like here today. It’s exciting to participate in this collaborative project driving innovation between a private enterprise and the local utility, all on a mission to unlock the potential of zero-carbon transportation options,” said Paul Stith, Black & Veatch’s director of global transportation initiatives.
Against the backdrop of the advances in electrified trucking and the push to lower or eliminate transportation’s carbon footprint, the project is scheduled to open this spring near DTNA’s headquarters and will feature nine charging stations. The site also will serve as a testing and innovation location, with plans for more chargers, on-site energy storage, solar power generation, a product and technology showcase building, and chargers capable of up to 1 megawatt of charging capacity (that is more than four times faster than the fastest light-duty vehicle chargers in 2021).
On what is known as Swan Island, the “Electric Island” joint venture addresses the nexus of electrified trucks and the grid while creating opportunities for future electric vehicle drivers and utility customers, according to a statement from Black & Veatch. Powered by DTNA’s enrollment in PGE’s “Green Future Impact” renewable energy program, the site — and all vehicle charging — will be powered with no greenhouse gas emissions.
“Given that transportation is an oversized contributor to pollution and climate-warming emissions, it’s important to ensure charging infrastructure keeps pace with commercial fleet adoption. Lessons learned at Electric Island will help transform thinking for the entire industry,” said Stith, who also serves on the board of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency and of Forth, an organization advancing clean transportation. “Proving the scalability of high-capacity charging infrastructure is critical to demonstrating the path forward for medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles.”
In the North American market alone, according to CALSTART’s Global Commercial Drive to Zero initiative, more than 108 models of commercial freight vehicles — including zero-emission heavy-duty trucks, medium-duty truck and vans, and yard tractors — will be available from 46 manufacturers this year.
As zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) technology matures — particularly in the medium- and heavy-duty arena — regulators in some states are providing incentives and increasingly strong mandates that force broader adoption of emissions-free vehicles and trucks. In June, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) mandated that half the state’s trucks be zero-emission by 2035.