By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service
Groups that fight climate change are asking the Environmental Protection Agency to adopt ambitious new greenhouse-gas emissions rules for medium- and heavy-duty trucks — which would incentivize the transition to electric trucks. The charging network that would make electric-truck routes possible is just getting started.
Zeina El-Azzi is CEO and founder of Gage Zero, a company looking to build truck-charging depots in port areas.
“When you look at the total U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions picture, 29% of that comes from transportation and 23% of that comes from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles,” El-Azzi said. “So, in order for us to electrify those vehicles, we’ll need to have a significant investment in the infrastructure.”
Some groups have urged the EPA to consider the feasibility of any proposed greenhouse-gas emission standards. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association told Congress last May that professional drivers are concerned about the cost, mileage range, battery weight and charging availability in the absence of a national charging network.
CalStart is an industry organization whose members include truck manufacturers, transport and delivery companies, cities and more. CEO John Boesel says the so-called Phase Three rule could pave the way for more jobs and cleaner air, especially in low-income port communities.
“In the future, we can see a society where we have trucks rolling around with zero emissions and zero noise trucks, drivers being much happier driving an electric truck, and really benefiting communities over the decades that have been hard hit by diesel pollution and emissions,” Boesel said.
Stakeholders are also working with utilities to bring extra power, including solar panels and battery storage, to the future EV truck-charging network. The EPA is expected to finalize the rule by early next year.