Energy Exchange

Smart charging should be integral part of a national EV charging network

Electric trucks are coming, and they’re coming fast. Just before 2021 drew to a close, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts joined California, Oregon and Washington to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission trucks with the adoption of the Advanced Clean Truck program. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, securing up to $67 billion in direct investment in zero-emission trucks and buses, as well as several critical tax credits to support the purchase and production of zero-emission trucks. And more than 150 truck fleets are either operating zero-emission trucks or have trucks on order.

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New electricity rate will make truck and bus charging cheaper, cleaner in California

State regulators just approved a first-of-its-kind charging rate for electric trucks and buses in northern California that will make it more affordable for fleet operators to make the switch from diesel to electric.

This new “dynamic” rate changes on an hourly basis, offering more opportunities for fleet operators to charge their vehicles when electricity is cheap (for example, when the grid is underutilized or when clean electricity is plentiful). In 2019, state regulators authorized Pacific Gas and Electric Company to offer a commercial electric vehicle time of use rate; regulators also directed the utility to request a more dynamic rate option, which is what was just approved. PG&E offering a menu of options tracks with EDF’s recent recommendation that multiple options — to accommodate many different operational use cases — are needed to make commercial vehicle electrification as affordable and clean as possible.

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New analysis shows California is home to the most zero-emission truck, bus companies in the nation

From vehicle assembly to battery manufacturing, research and training, the zero-emission truck and bus supply chain is supporting thousands of jobs and billions of investments — in California and across the country — according to a new report by EDF released today. That’s good news, because the transition away from fossil fuels in the medium- and heavy-duty, zero-emission vehicle sector will require significant new investments in technology, infrastructure and logistics.

In California, much like the national picture, the MHD ZEV industry is far-reaching. Existing businesses in the transportation industry are adapting their offerings to provide MHD ZEV products, and there are a significant number of new market entrants.

California leads the nation with at least 128 companies in 181 locations involved in the MHD ZEV supply chain; 86 of these companies are headquartered in the state, with over 44,000 total employees. In addition, there has been over $3.8 billion of announced corporate investments in manufacturing, infrastructure, research and training over the last seven years.

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New mapping tool could help communities, policymakers prioritize clean transportation solutions

My children’s daycare, which is on a commercial strip between supermarkets and restaurants, often has three refrigerated trucks idling outside the front door. These diesel trucks can emit harmful pollution, even when they aren’t moving. The impact of transportation pollution on vulnerable populations is often striking. In downtown Oakland, where more than 70% of the population are people of color, one in two new cases of childhood asthma are attributed to transportation pollution.

Companies are being questioned about the impacts that truck-attracting facilities like warehouses are having on local communities. The pressure will only increase as e-commerce and distribution facilities expand right by population centers.

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New California law will make it easier to finance electric trucks, buses

By Michael Colvin and Lauren Navarro

Gov. Newsom signed a new law today that will help accelerate the much-needed transition to electric trucks and buses. In addition to transforming the California market and cleaning up the state’s air, this law can serve as a national model for other states interested in accelerating the adoption of clean trucks and buses.

The new law, Senate Bill 372, directs the California Air Resources Board and the state treasurer’s office to offer a suite of financial incentives to help owners of medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses pay for the costs of replacing their diesel-fueled fleets with cleaner, zero-emission alternatives. Examples include a loan loss reserve, credit enhancements, performance warranties and sale guarantees.

What is particularly innovative about this new law is that it uses the public dollar to attract private capital in ways that traditional rebates do not. Research indicates that this leverage will be critical to getting clean trucks and buses on the road at scale.

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A new way to track truck pollution

By Timothy O’Connor and Aileen Nowlan

SunPower, a solar power and energy services provider, is starting to ship solar panels in electric heavy-duty trucks powered by — you guessed it — solar energy. The question that communities and investors are starting to ask is, why isn’t everybody?

How long can a company go without a plan to end goods transport powered by fossil fuels, and what are the health and climate consequences of the status quo?

Despite making up only about 4% of the vehicles on the road, diesel trucks are responsible for over half the smog-forming pollution from the transportation sector and a quarter of the climate emissions. This pollution is projected to grow, as demand for freight moved by trucks is on track to increase about 25% by 2030.

The local impact of this pollution is significant. Recent studies in places such as Oakland, California and Houston — two regions with large port operations and associated goods movement equipment located in or near environmental justice communities — have proven that diesel truck pollution leads to increases in childhood asthma rates and lower life expectancies in frontline communities.

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