Fully Electric Trucks in Our Future

When it comes to protecting and restoring the environment, it should come as no surprise that the commercial trucking industry would adopt positions that mirror those of the public sector.

As a result, in recent years, several large commercial truck manufacturers have been studying the possibilities and logistics of using fully-electric commercial trucks, typically known as EV’s (Electric Vehicles). To facilitate these vehicles, there must be a way to charge them. In some cases, the manufacturer will supply these charging stations, but the Department of Transportation (DOT) has also been hard at work on the logistics of powering electric vehicles that deliver goods to all Americans.

One of the major obstacles with EVs is their limited range. Due to the limited max power that today’s large batteries can actually store, commercial vehicles are especially vulnerable to this pitfall. Presently, the use of EVs in the commercial industry is pretty much limited to short-range deliveries. Until enough charging stations are installed across the country, there may not be a market for long-haul EVs for the foreseeable future.

Commercial EVs will most likely utilize Level 2 charging stations since they use 240 volt outlets and can charge faster than a Level 1 station. The available connector to be used in North America is the CCS1 (Combined Charging System) for Direct Current (DC) applications. In instances where a Level 1 station is used, the SAE J1773 Connector (J-Plug) will be used, but it only supplies 110 Volts. In most cases this will be used for non-commercial EVs. The above-mentioned CCS connector uses the J1772 charging inlet and adds two more pins below the J1772 terminals.

Presently there are over 2,500 Level 2 charging stations in America based on the U.S. Department of Energy’s data. Although there are no reported stations with the CCS connectors, it does mean that there are already stations across America that could be used to charge a commercial vehicle someday. This will mean long-haul deliveries using fully electric trucks may be in our near future.

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About the Author

Chris Manescu

Chris Manescu joined the Mitchell 1 Commercial Vehicle Group as a Technical Editor in 2010. Chris worked as an ASE certified repair technician for over 20 years after his service in the United States Marine Corps.