Transition is only possible with infrastructure
Reliable EV charging infrastructure is critical for a transition to electric vehicles, and that includes electric trucks. It seems US West Coast utilities understand that very well, as they are taking a lead and pushing society in the needed direction. Recently, 9 West Coast utilities and two agencies created a study, the West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative, to map out important EV charging infrastructure for trucks. The report also notes such a buildout would create jobs, while it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions from freight transportation, but it doesn’t estimate how many jobs.
The report [pdf] recommends adding electric vehicle charging for freight haulers and delivery trucks at 50-mile intervals along Interstate 5 and adjoining highways.
We are honored to be a part of the West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative which proposes 27 #EV charging stations for medium-duty trucks along Interstate 5 and adjoining highways. 🚚🔋🔌 Check out the roadmap at https://t.co/70fw96KzXB. #cleanenergy
— SCE (@SCE) June 17, 2020
Air pollution kills
The air pollution “pandemic” needs more attention, and more solutions. Air pollution causes more deaths than wars, parasitic & vector-born diseases, HIV/AIDS, and smoking. To offset the rise of air-pollution, which is increasing again as people start driving more despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we definitely need much more electric trucking. Research report after research report shows increasing numbers of air pollution victims.
“The results of this study provide a roadmap for electric utilities in Washington, Oregon and California to help electrify transportation in a coordinated fashion,” said Katie Sloan, director of eMobility and Building Electrification for Southern California Edison, which was one of the sponsors of the study. “This study comes at a time when we believe major investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure will help significantly with economic recovery from COVID-19 in our states.”
Naturally, the report is recommending that state, federal, or private programs provide more funding for vehicle and especially truck electrification. “Several utilities in California — LADWP, PG&E, SDG&E and SCE — have programs aimed at supporting the adoption of electric trucks, but more support will be needed to reach electrification levels identified in the study and to meet state climate goals.”
A study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in 2016 found that children living within 100 meters of a major highway had, on average, lung function around 6% lower than that of children living 400 or more meters away from major highways. Since that time, dozens more studies have confirmed this and worse. Why are we so slow to change?
Other key findings in the report are:
- Most utilities in California, Oregon and Washington have enough capacity in urban areas along I-5 to support interconnections with the medium-duty charging sites. Rural areas are more of a challenge and none of the rural areas currently have capacity to serve heavy-duty site development.
- Stakeholders, including utilities, must begin proactive engagement to accommodate long lead times (multiple years in most cases) for system planning and site development.
- Clean fuel policies in West Coast states continue to drive transportation electrification in the near term and additional state, federal and private programs that provide funding for electrification could further accelerate electric truck adoption.
- Utilities should serve as trusted infrastructure providers that can be leveraged to collaborate across a broad range of industry stakeholders, educate customers, help standardize systems of charging equipment for trucks and ensure safe deployment of charging sites.
- Fleet operators surveyed as part of the study identified that access to public charging would accelerate deployment of electric vehicles because their trucks could use public sites to support their operations.
“Electrifying delivery, freight and other commercial transportation on I-5 and adjoining highways will help bring us closer to achieving clean energy and environmental goals, and will mean major health benefits to the communities near those highways,” said Eva DeCesaro, senior product manager, Transportation Electrification for Pacific Power. “This is especially true for underserved communities that are disproportionality impacted by carbon pollution.”
Indeed. We need a lot more electrification projects. We need them now.
In California, the transportation sector is outstanding as the problem, and it is especially the children living near highways who suffer. Exhaust from transportation accounts for nearly 80% of the state’s air pollution and more than 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, in Washington and Oregon, transportation remains the largest contributor to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
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