New Coalition Aims to Accelerate Deployments of Zero-Emission Vehicles

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Powering America’s Commercial Transportation (PACT), a coalition focused on education and advocacy for accelerating the construction of nationwide infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty (M/HD) zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), has been established. Its express purpose is overcoming the many barriers delaying access to ZEV infrastructure and enhancing national climate policies to address the infrastructure needs of M/HD ZEVs.

PACT has been formed by Daimler Truck North America, Navistar Inc. and Volvo Group North America, which collectively represent approximately 70% of all new M/HD truck sales in the U.S. and are committed to ambitious electrification goals.

Each original equipment manufacturer (OEM) has battery electric vehicles in the marketplace, but access to charging infrastructure is an increasingly significant bottleneck to the widespread adoption of these technologies. Coalition membership is open to all stakeholders with an interest in accelerating the deployment of zero-emission commercial vehicles and the requisite infrastructure, including other OEMs, infrastructure developers, electric utilities and grid operators. Other founding members include ABB E-mobility, Burns & McDonnell, Greenlane, J.B. Hunt Transport Inc., Prologis Inc. and Voltera.

So far in the United States, transportation electrification has largely focused on the needs of light-duty passenger vehicles, a far different market segment that does not require the same considerations as M/HDs. Quickly deploying reliable and accessible ZEV infrastructure to power the nation’s commercial transportation fleet necessitates distinct considerations for capital investment, electrical grid upgrades and dedicated charging equipment. According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, nearly 600,000 chargers will support a projected 1.1 million Class 4-8 M/HD ZEVs anticipated to be deployed by 2030. These ZEVs will consume 140,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per day, equivalent to the daily energy used by 4.9 million American homes.

“Decarbonizing the commercial transportation sector — the fleets that keep America moving — is critical to meeting our nation’s climate goals,” says John O’Leary, president and CEO of Daimler Truck North America. “But the transition to zero-emission vehicles is stalling without the deployment of the needed charging infrastructure. Through PACT, we aim to accelerate this infrastructure buildout so that fleets can adopt ZEVs at scale, and we can all benefit from impactful emissions reductions as quickly as possible.”

“Commercial vehicle customers require fast, reliable, affordable and convenient power to effectively deploy ZEV fleets at scale,” says Mathias Carlbaum, president and CEO of Navistar. “To enable their success, we must work collaboratively across sectors to deliver an infrastructure that provides access to seamless electricity and meets the commercial transportation industry’s unique needs. PACT provides a concerted forum dedicated to making this vision a reality, truly working to accelerate the impact of sustainable mobility.”

“The scale of infrastructure required for medium- and heavy-duty EV adoption is unprecedented,” adds Stephen Roy, chairman of Volvo Group North America and president of Mack Trucks. “Understanding and coordination across the different stakeholders is imperative to deploy chargers quickly and cost-effectively. PACT will promote best practices to streamline this complex transition while minimizing impacts on fleets, utilities and the economy.”

While supporting the deployment of commercial ZEV infrastructure, PACT will not advocate for specific vehicle, power generation or utility distribution technologies. PACT exists to educate stakeholders about infrastructure challenges that hamper M/HD ZEV adoption in the marketplace and work with stakeholders to find solutions for the benefit of all interested parties. The coalition also champions practical and efficient infrastructure solutions capable of supporting increasing M/HD ZEV deployments.

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