Most trucks and buses today rely on Dr. Diesel’s compression ignition engines. Diesels are more efficient than gasoline engines, they have gobs of low end torque — just the ticket for getting heavy loads moving from a dead stop — and they are incredibly durable. What’s not to like?
The stuff that comes out of the tailpipes of diesel-powered vehicles, that’s what. Not only carbon dioxide, but nitrogen oxides and fine particulates — tiny bits of matter so small they can cross directly into the bloodstream of human beings in the lungs. Those particulates can causing circulatory and pulmonary disease ranging from asthma to heart attacks.
One solution is to replace those pollution spewing diesel engines with electric motors, which are far more efficient and have even more of that lovely torque truck people adore. When we say “electric trucks,” most people think of the big rigs that haul cargo from coast to coast, but most trucks are used for short range trips. Some of them are tractors and some are box trucks — those anonymous vehicles that deliver all our packages, parcels, washing machines, refrigerators, and gajillion other products essential to life in modern society to our doors.
Many of those trucks are provided by Penske Truck Leasing. Wholesalers and retailers are not all that interested in having a cadre of truck mechanics on their payroll. It’s far more convenient to lease the vehicles they need and let Penske worry about maintenance and repairs. Penske has already started leasing electric trucks manufactured by Daimler and expects to add many more electric light, medium, and heavy duty trucks to its fleet of lease vehicles in the near future.
But electric trucks need electric truck chargers. So Penske has begun installing them at its leasing facilities in Southern California. Why SoCal? Because lots of the stuff that America imports gets delivered to ports located along the southern coast of California. From there, it gets hauled to distribution centers a short distance away. The crud spewing from all those tailpipes has turned the air in the corridors between the ports and the distribution centers into a toxic stew that is barely fit for humans to breathe.
The company has installed 14 DC fast charging stations specifically designed to meet the needs of electric trucks at its leasing facilities in Southern California and plans to add 6 more shortly, according to a press release. “We’re committed to being at the forefront of commercial vehicle electrification,” said Brian Hard, head of Penske Truck Leasing. “We are investing to ensure our customers have access to the right vehicles, technology, charging infrastructure and information to help shape the future of mobility in our industry.”
The 50 kW to 150 kW chargers are capable of charging an all-electric class 8 tractor from 0 to 100% SOC in less than half a shift, the company says. Presumably a shift is 8 hours, so figure 4 hours for a complete charge. Of course, that time will depend on the size of the battery being charged and the battery management system built into the trucks.
“We are proud to provide our customers with the ability to quickly and conveniently charge their electric truck fleets at these locations,” says Andrew Cullen, senior vice president of fuels and facilities at Penske Truck Leasing. “We’ll continue to add new locations and charging infrastructure to support our customers as our electric fleet continues to grow and the demand for commercial electric vehicles gains momentum.”
The good news for everyone with lungs is that every diesel truck replaced with an electric truck will provide health benefits not only to people but the entire Earth as well.
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