Construction Begins on ‘Charging Island’ for MD, HD Vehicles


As the automotive industry accelerates the delivery of electrified truck models, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) and Portland General Electric (PGE) say they are teaming up on a first-of-its-kind, public charging station specially designed for medium- and heavy-duty electric commercial trucks. 

Black & Veatch, a provider of zero-emission vehicle transportation solutions, is now working to bring the Portland, Ore., Electric Island project online to demonstrate high-power charging infrastructure scaled to accommodate electric trucks and their large batteries capable of moving up to 80,000 pounds at highway speeds.

Against the backdrop of the advances in electrified trucking and the push to lower or altogether eliminate transportation’s carbon footprint, the project is scheduled to open this spring near DTNA’s headquarters and will feature nine charging stations. The site also will serve as a testing and innovation location, with plans for more chargers, on-site energy storage, solar power generation, a product and technology showcase building, and chargers capable of up to 1 MW of charging capacity – that’s more than four times faster than today’s fastest light-duty vehicle chargers.

On what officially is known as Swan Island, the Electric Island joint venture addresses the nexus of electrified trucks and the grid while creating opportunities for tomorrow’s electric vehicle (EV) drivers and utility customers. Powered by DTNA’s enrollment in PGE’s Green Future Impact renewable energy program, the site – and all vehicle charging – will be powered with no greenhouse gas emissions.

“Electric Island is a perfect example of what the future looks like here today,” says Paul Stith, director of global transportation initiatives at Black & Veatch. “It’s exciting to participate in this collaborative project driving innovation between a private enterprise and the local utility – all on a mission to unlock the potential of zero-carbon transportation options.”

Positive feedback from zero-emission, heavy-duty test and validation fleets is building confidence and generating demand for vehicles. In the North American market alone, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute, zero-emissions freight vehicle availability over the next year is expected to increase from more than 70 models from two dozen manufacturers to at least 85 models from over 30 companies.

As zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) technology matures – particularly in the medium- and heavy-duty space – regulators in some states are providing incentives and increasingly strong mandates that force broader adoption of emissions-free vehicles and trucks. In the U.S. in June, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) mandated that half the state’s trucks be zero-emission by 2035.

Photo: DTNA’s corporate headquarters located in Portland

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