A Look at Emerging Charging Solutions for Large EVs
Each of these solutions takes a unique approach to charging larger electric vehicles like buses and RVs. This article will examine some of the more recent developments in the field of large EV charging to understand how the industry is approaching this growing concern.
When people discuss the EV market, they often focus on the private vehicles the everyday person owns. However, this isn’t the only transportation field undergoing an electric revolution.
WattEV charging station. Image used courtesy of WattEV
Specifically, larger forms of transportation, such as buses, trucks, and even RVs, have been experiencing a huge shift toward electrification. A unique challenge with these vehicles is the massive size of their batteries coupled with the frequency with which the vehicles travel. For these reasons, there is a significant need for robust charging solutions to support the unique needs of larger EV classifications.
Largest Electric Truck Charging Depot in the US
In a landmark move for the electrification of large-scale vehicles, WattEV recently launched the biggest public access charging station for heavy-duty vehicles in the US.
Located at the Port of Long Beach, the busiest container port in the country, this charging depot is the first to be directly situated at a port. As a testament to this port’s importance, reports indicate that the Port of Long Beach and the adjacent Port of Los Angeles handle 40% of the nation’s containerized imports.
To address electrification in such a busy port, the newly opened depot is equipped with 13 dual-cord 360 kW CCS chargers, providing a total capacity of 5 MW. The current port features 26 charging stations, but WattEV has plans to add more and increase the port’s capacity by an additional 8 MW with the introduction of the forthcoming “Megawatt Charge System” (MCS) expected around 2026.
Overall, this port is part of a larger initiative towards facilitating the transition of the 20,000 trucks registered at the Port of Long Beach to zero emissions.
North America’s Premier Electric Bus Charging Center
In another significant advancement, Proterra, ABC Companies, and California utility PG&E have recently inaugurated North America’s most extensive electric bus charging center.
Situated in Newark, California, the new, privately-owned center spans a 3.5-acre campus and houses 20 dual-cable EV chargers, each capable of charging up to 40 electric coach buses. Altogether, the campus can support up to 1.4 MW of EV charging.
A Proterra charging station. Image used courtesy of Proterra
While more details are unknown, the companies state that the center also provides services, including delivery, training, and support for Van Hool’s e-buses, which run on Proterra’s batteries. To date, ABC Companies, the parent company of Belgian-based Van Hool, has reported that over ⅕ of their motorcoach sales are now battery-electric vehicles.
Pull-Through Charging for eRVs and Larger EVs
To better understand the state of the EV charging landscape, the RV Industry Association and engineering firm Black & Veatch recently released a new report.
Illustration of a charging hub with pull-through chargers. Image used courtesy of RVIA
A major tenant highlighted by the report was the necessity for pull-through charging infrastructure to facilitate the adoption of electric motorized RVs (eRVs) and other larger EVs. Unlike traditional pull-in charging stations, where vehicles need to reverse into a parking spot to access the charger, pull-through charging stations are designed to drive straight through the station without reversing. This accommodates larger EVs which are more difficult to maneuver.
The study highlights that the RV industry is investing substantially in eRVs and electric-assist travel trailers. However, the lack of public pull-through charging facilities presents a significant challenge. A nationwide network of such stations would accelerate the adoption of EVs, particularly those towing trailers, driving larger vehicles, or traveling long distances.