Lack of a publicly available, nationwide fast-charging infrastructure for commercial vehicles (medium- and heavy-duty) is considered as one of the biggest barriers for the widespread deployment of electric trucks.
Daimler Truck North America, NextEra Energy Resources and BlackRock Renewable Power recently announced a plan on how to solve the charging issue in the U.S.
The parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to lay the foundation for a proposed joint venture (JV) "to design, develop, install and operate a nationwide, high-performance charging network for medium- and heavy-duty battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the U.S."
The joint venture is scheduled to start operations in 2022, with initial funding of about $650 million, divided equally among the three parties.
The partnership reminds us the recent one, announced in Europe, by Volvo Group, Daimler Truck and Volkswagen Group's Traton Group (Scania and MAN brands).
The first phase is set to begin construction in 2023 and this is when we should expect the first fast-charging stations (and alternatively, hydrogen refueling stations).
Despite that the general approach is to build a nationwide network, initially, it will be limited to three main areas: "critical freight routes along the east and west coasts and in Texas by 2026".
According to the press release, passenger electric cars also will be allowed to use the stations.
At this point, it's not yet known how many charging and refueling (hydrogen) stations will be built.
Daimler Trucks North America already has experience in fast charging as the company - together with Portland General Electric (PGE) - built the “Electric Island” pilot station at its headquarters.
The company soon will launch two electric models, the Freightliner eCascadia Class 8 semi and Freightliner eM2 Class 6-7 truck, which will enter production in late 2022.