INTEGRATING ELECTRIC TRUCKS AND BUSES INTO THE GRID


In this report for the Energy Foundation, CALSTART identifies issues and makes recommendations to facilitate the integration of electric trucks and buses into the grid.

Read Electric Truck & Bus Grid Integration, 2015. 
 
ABOUT THE E-TRUCK TASK FORCE

About the E-Truck Task Force

The E-Truck Task Force (E-TTF) was formed as a sub group of HTUF to target specific issues in the emerging electric truck market. We have begun this work because of the potentially large benefits of this industry sector and the focused efforts that are needed to assist this segment’s growth and maturing. The overall goal of the E-TTF is to speed and support effective E-Truck production and use.

The E-TTF has now completed its first stage and has published an important white paper on the key findings and recommendations to speed e-truck uptake (click here to download a copy).  

If you would like to take part in the important work of E-TTF, please contact Tom Brotherton at tbrotherton@calstart.org or Alycia Gilde at agilde@calstart.org

Progress of E-Truck Task Force

The CALSTART team recruited the members of the E-TTF from two primary groups: (1) early adopters and interested fleet users, and (2) early E-truck manufacturers and suppliers. The Task Force was split operationally into the two groups, with a parallel two-track meeting schedule to assist each group with developing data on their specific needs. In total, the Task Force consists of 102 members representing OEM's, supplier companies, government agencies, and academic organizations, and 37 public and private fleets. To date, the Task Force has meet 9 times:  3 Fleet track meetings, 3 Industry track meetings, 2 joint meetings, and a final meeting at the HTUF 2011 conference in Baltimore in October 2011.

As a result of this a multi-month research and industry engagement process, CALSTART has published a white paper, entitled "Best Fleet Uses, Key Challenges and the Early Business Case for E-Trucks: Findings and Recommendations of the E-Truck Task Force," which highlights the key findings and recommendations of the Task Force. These recommendations represent important actions needed to support and expand the production and use of electric and plug-in trucks. The white paper concludes that E-trucks can achieve payback and satisfy fleet user needs even in the early market if the trucks are placed in applications that provide high daily petroleum offset (either in mileage or energy use) and can maintain high utilization rates. Special additions to this white paper include an E-truck Business Case Calculator that can aid fleets in their business case calculations. We also included an Infrastructure Planning Guide for E-Truck Fleets, which is designed to help fleets avoid unexpectedly high initial infrastructure costs and electricity demand charges. 

Top-Level Recommendations from E-Truck Task Force White Paper

The top-level recommendations from the E-Truck Task Force are briefly outlined below and detailed further in the report.

Minimize costs: 
  • Call on the vehicle and battery industry to institute a battery leasing model for E-trucks and/or a greatly extended battery warranty
  • Maintain or increase R&D and demonstration of hybrid and electric technology for trucks with a focus on reduced system design and manufacturing costs
  • Seek support incentives – ideally purchase vouchers – for roughly half of E-truck incremental costs

Improve vehicle quality / support:

  • Call on vehicle and battery industry to directly link sales expansion to establishment of a satisfactory support and parts network
  • Call on vehicle manufacturers to increase quality control checks before delivery
  • Encourage fleets to require service turn-around minimums before agreeing to purchase

Provide better performance validation data and business case information:

  • Create and circulate a general business case calculator/guide to help fleets assess best applications for vehicle use

Action taken: Calculator created and included with report

  • Create a clearinghouse for fleet in-use data sharing on E-trucks
  • Create joint info/data documents and tools highlighting best use profiles, agree to common use profiles to aid business case planning and agree to their use across the E-truck industry

Provide information on charging infrastructure requirements and costs:

  • Create and circulate a general infrastructure installation and planning guide

Action taken: Guide created and included with report

  • Work to create a commercial EV charging rate
  • Eliminate or reduce demand charge for commercial EV charging (if timed to protect the grid)
  • Create incentives to offset infrastructure costs that are provided together with vehicle incentives (ideally provided via voucher or similar structure) 

E-Truck Task Force Background

CALSTART is a fuel and technology neutral organization that when the opportunity exists will facilitate “co-opetition," enabling competing organizations to collaborate and launch a new market segment. CALSTART has successfully enable co-opetition in  renewable natural gas, fuel cell buses, ethanol infrastructure, hybrid trucks sectors and now see an opportunity in the emerging electric truck market. To target and assist this sector we will be building on our established program structures, particularly the Hybrid, Electric and Advanced Truck Users Forum (HTUF) program, and our industry relationships to pull together the players and begin the effort.  However, we will be expanding efforts beyond these structures too, as warranted, to maintain US leadership here.

CALSTART already works with E-Trucks in several ways because of our strong national and state role supporting advanced, efficient trucks.  This work comes currently via tech development in the California Hybrid and Efficient Advanced Truck (CalHEAT) Center  and the development of a truck electrification pathway in that program; via the Hybrid and Electric Truck and Bus Vehicle Incentive Project (HVIP, managed under contract with the California Air Resources Board) that provides purchase funding for hybrid and electric trucks; via our EV Infrastructure coordination activities which has identified needs around commercial-grade refueling/charging; and through HTUF via our existing application working groups and the tech panels at our national conference.