What Will Charging Stations Look Like For Electric Semi Trucks?

With more electric semi-trucks on the road, a large network of charging stations will be needed to accommodate this demand. Utilities are helping prepare for the shift to fleet electrification through ongoing conversations with fleets and regulators. These discussions are critical to understanding the big impacts of fleet electrification on their rate structures and power demand.

Fast Chargers

Electric semi-trucks require more power than light-duty EVs, and they need to be charged much faster. As a result, it’ll prove difficult to build charging infrastructure that’s designed to meet the needs of long-haul electric trucking. In some cases, fast chargers found in parking lots or public rest stops may be the only charging solution available to fleets. Currently, the fastest DC fast chargers range from 50 kW to 350 kW.

Dedicated Charging Stations

As fleets begin to adopt electric trucks, it’s likely there will be a need for dedicated charging stations. These locations will need to be optimized to accommodate the size and weight of the batteries. As part of its ongoing work to support a transition to electrification, PGE is developing a testing and innovation site that can accommodate up to 1 megawatt of charge capacity–four times faster than today’s top light-duty vehicle chargers. The project aims to create a hub that will allow trucking companies to test new technologies and see how they impact the power grid while providing opportunities for industry leaders. In addition to charging, operators could also choose to charge their fleets overnight at the hub or depot where they park. This strategy would avoid up-front capital expenditures, though it could involve slightly higher electricity prices per kilowatt hour consumed.

Swapping Stations

Several companies are considering building battery swap stations for electric trucks. These would replace discharged batteries with fresh ones, allowing drivers to get back on the road in minutes without having to stop and recharge. IDTechEx considers fleet vehicles and heavy-duty trucks and buses to be especially suitable for battery swapping because they usually make long journeys with a regular schedule. Swapping batteries would also help reduce the impact of sudden load changes on the power grid during peak hours.

Charge Management Software

The right EV charging management software will help reduce costs and time spent managing stations. For example, it can help technicians identify issues and malfunctions before they cause costly downtime or loss of revenue. Moreover, it will help reduce maintenance and data collection times by scheduling inspections and automatically notifying technicians of issues or malfunctions. Charging management software also provides powerful analytics tools to enable users to track a wide range of data points, helping them make informed decisions about their energy usage and cost projections. It can also generate detailed reports that provide valuable insights into all areas of energy usage, enabling operators to maximize their systems and improve overall performance in the long run.