Electrifying US road fleet could consume over 40% of existing power
Power industry observers differed regarding the market implications of a new study asserting that converting the nation’s road fleet to battery electric vehicles would result in demand exceeding 40% of the nation’s current electricity generated.
The American Transportation Research Institute’s latest report, “Charging Infrastructure Challenges for the US Electric Vehicle Fleet,” focuses on issues related to power supply and demand, electric vehicle production and truck charging requirements. The report calculates that just supplying a long-haul truck fleet with power would require 10.6% of the electricity currently being generated, while extending that fleet to short-haul freight vehicles would raise that percentage to 14%. Powering all US passenger cars and trucks would consume 26.3% of the electricity currently being generated
Charging stations, parking sites
The ATRI report also emphasizes the challenge of charging an all-electric trucking fleet, not only in terms of when trucks can be charged, given federal hours-of-service limits, but also in terms of where they can be charged.
“[This] charging will have to take place at existing truck parking locations along interstate trucking routes; it would be cost prohibitive to build an entirely new parking and charging network in the US,” the report states. “There are approximately 313,000 truck parking spaces in the country, as inventoried by Federal Highway Administration in 2019. This includes 40,000 truck parking spaces at public rest areas and 273,000 truck parking spaces at private truck stops. Truck parking is a significant problem for the trucking industry, identified by drivers as their top industry concern.”
However, Matt Lichtash, and Sam Benford, PA Consulting energy and utilities experts, dispute the daunting description of parking and charging issues.
“We think the charger utilization and coordination problem is solvable,” they said Dec. 9. “Coordinating charging can be done in a digital reservation manner. In many industries there are already far fewer ‘parking spaces’ than assets (e.g., rental car sites), so we do not feel this will be the limiting factor in heavy-duty truck electrification. Solving the ‘queueing/space’ problems at truck rest areas will be tough logistically but not inherently unsolvable. For example, there could be expanded electric infrastructure connection points to trucks along the entire truck stop areas.”