LONG BEACH, Calif—Eight commercial fleet depots representing some of the nation’s top retail and logistics firms will participate in a study on scaling up fleet electrification in the future.
The Run on Less—Electric Depot (RoL-E DEPOT) program, led by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) will study the impact of larger-scale electric truck adoption across a variety of market segments. The program will seek to understand what it takes to transition from fossil-fueled vehicles and the impact of moving a fleet from one or two electrics to 15 and more.
The company fleet depots participating in the study include a cross-section of commercial and industrial sectors in the U.S. Those depots, all based in California except for the first one, are Frito-Lay in Queens, New York; OKProduce in Fresno; Penske in Ontario; Pepsi Beverages in Sacramento; Performance Team Logistics in Commerce; Schneider trucking in South El Monte; UPS in Compton and WattEV in Long Beach.
“We are excited to have these fleets in RoL-E DEPOT and look forward to sharing information on charging infrastructure, engagement with utilities, total cost of ownership management, truck performance, driver and technician training, charge management, and more to help the entire industry move to a cleaner freight future,” Mike Roeth, executive director of NACFE, said in a statement.
NACFE is working with Endeavor’s own T&D World and Fleet Owner magazines to create a special series of sessions on fleet electrification happening on the first day of events at T&D World Live, which is Sept. 12-14 at the Sacramento Community Center. This one-day “mini-event,” called Commercial Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Conference (CEVIC) will occur on Monday, Sept. 12 and will include NACFE’s Mike Roeth and other speakers from International Council on Clean Transportation, some of the biggest fleet companies and commercial transporters in North America, electric utilities and regulatory agencies. (EnergyTech also is part of Endeavor Business Media).
The overall work by NACFE, RMI and participating fleets is part of the Run for Less program looking at how electrification can make transportation more energy and cost efficient. The three-week Run for Less series, running concurrently through T&D World Live and beyond, will reveal and share best practices for scaling heavy-duty electric trucks at depots.
“Our goal with this event was to showcase fleets that are now deploying 15 or more trucks,” said Dave Schaller, NACFE’s director of industry engagement. “The reality is that, at this point, the majority of fleets with 15 or more electric trucks are in California, but we believe they are a good representation of the benefits and challenges of deploying electric vehicles at scale.”
Last year in Charlotte, Schaller spoke at the inaugural T&D World event and underlined the biggest challenges to fleet electrification, including the early steps of communication between electric utilities and fleet owners. Future adoption of EVs rests on adequate infrastructure and grid resiliency issues as much as fleet goals for decarbonization and eventual fuel cost savings.
“The use cases show that box trucks, terminal trucks and step vans are ready,” Schaller said at the Charlotte event. “Long haul and regional haul not so much.”
For full-on adoption, the fleet industry and utilities still need to get off the sideline and dance.
“Very strategic questions need to be asked,” Schaller noted.
The upcoming CEVIC’s purpose is to provide the space where the dancing can begin. Details about CEVIC will soon be available on the T&D World Conference and Exhibition website at events.tdworld.com.