As our transportation moves towards electrification, fleet operators have a lot more to consider than just purchasing vehicles. They must also develop a charging solution that fits the needs of their operation today, with the ability to scale as their electric fleet grows.
“Fueling” a vehicle with electricity is similar to the concept of charging a cell phone. Once plugged into a charger, an electric vehicle draws energy from the grid, which is stored in a battery and fuels the vehicle. Despite the seemingly simple concept, charging a battery electric truck can require a large amount of electricity in a very short period of time—this is amplified further when multiple vehicles need to refuel quickly. Understanding how to manage the tradeoffs between a powerful charger that can achieve 80% state of charge within 1.5 hours (e.g., a 250-kW charger) and a less powerful one that will take about 2.5 hours to achieve the same state of charge (e.g., 150-kW charger) can be difficult.
Charging infrastructure development is complicated by the fact that it necessitates unprecedented cooperation with stakeholders who are often unfamiliar with the trucking industry, such as utility companies, charging station providers, landlords, and local permitting authorities. One of the key lessons learned during the Volvo LIGHTS project was that early engagement with all of these stakeholders is essential, as it can help clarify costs and timeline ramifications for the overall project.
Volvo LIGHTS Charging Innovations Include:
- Networked chargers integrated with vehicle telematics to balance the needs of the vehicle, facility, and utility grid
- Integration of onsite solar panels to mitigate grid impacts and energy costs
- Use of second-life batteries to improve grid and facility resiliency, provide load management, and offset total cost of ownership
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