Momentum Is Building with New ZEV Fleet Deployments
I’ve been working in EV charging for almost a decade, and I’ve never been more excited. Momentum is building for deployments of charging infrastructure at scale as fleets quickly roll out ZEVs in increasing numbers. I think we’re near a tipping point where we’ll see a flood of charging infrastructure sites coming on line, operated on-premises by fleets themselves as well as off-site facilities operated by third-party providers like Voltera.
ZEV Deliveries Are Ramping Up
While most fleets are still operating a fraction of the ZEVs that they plan to, deployments are increasing rapidly. For example:
- Over 5,000 electric delivery vehicles in operation today
- Goal of 100,000 by 2030
- About 50,000 EVs in the fleet today
- Goal of 500,000 by 2025
- Over 1,000 EVs in the fleet today
- Goal of 40,000 by 2025
- 750 EVs in the fleet today
- Goal of 10,000 by 2030
- Over 700 EVs in the fleet today
- Goal of 1,000 by the end of 2023
Acquiring a site and developing the infrastructure for fleet charging at scale is a complex process that could take 24 months. So fleets planning to roll out ZEVs in large numbers in 2026 need to start planning for the infrastructure now – hence the tipping point I think we’re approaching. And while many fleets have so far been running smaller scale projects at their existing premises, or using public charging, in many cases the kind of scale fleets are planning will likely require off-premises deployments of charging infrastructure.
There are fleets that can access a public network of charging stations, especially lighter-duty fleets, but I think what we’re still in the very early days of is charging for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles or even all-electric light-duty fleets at the scale they need.
Scott Fisher, SVP of Sales & Business Development at Voltera
Freight Sites Coming Online at Scale
As they bring more EVs into operation, fleets are naturally moving beyond pilots and looking to deploy charging infrastructure at scale – both on-premises and at off-site facilities. At Voltera, we’re very excited about the 7 MW charging facility for 60 Class 8 BEVs that will be coming online near the Port of Long Beach later this year. (Learn more about it here.)
The industry reached a big milestone with the launch of Run on Less – Electric DEPOT. Organized by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE), Run on Less showcases ten fleets with EVs in operation. From September 11-30 the activity of 21 electric trucks at ten depots will be tracked. On the first day, fleets operated 20,943 electric miles using 58 megawatt hours of energy.
Run on Less – Electric DEPOT participants include:
- Penske – Light-, medium- and heavy-duty electric trucks from a variety of OEMs are operating from Penske’s site in Ontario, CA. These are short duty cycles in an urban environment.
- PepsiCo – At their depot in Sacramento, CA, PepsiCo is running Class 8 electric tractors in long-haul applications with heavy loads (between 250 and 450 miles per day) as well as middle-mile delivery (less than 75 miles per day).
- UPS – From their Compton, CA depot, UPS is running Class 8 electric tractors in middle-mile duty cycles (package delivery to distribution centers) and Class 6 electric step vans in last-mile duty cycles (package delivery to homes).
- Frito-Lay – The company’s depot in Queens, New York underwent a complete revitalization in less than one year. Now they’re operating Class 2b electric delivery vans in low-mileage urban duty cycles.
- Performance Team – At their Commerce, CA facility, Performance Team has Class 8 electric tractors operating in regional short-haul routes on two shifts a day.
- OK Produce – The produce wholesaler has Class 8 heavy-duty electric tractors running regional haul to grocery stores and back, as well as Class 8 terminal tractors moving trailers around the site.
- Schneider – At their South El Monte, CA facility, Schneider is transitioning heavy-duty tractors to battery electric vehicles. When the transition is complete, all 92 trucks at the site will be electric, operating in domestic intermodal applications that are primarily short haul.
- US Foods – At their La Mirada, CA site, US Foods is operating Class 8 electric tractors for local food delivery applications. Currently the site relies on portable charging to support three heavy-duty tractors per charger. Once permanent charging infrastructure is built, the portable chargers will be moved to another US Foods location to start the electrification process there.
- WattEV – The Truck-as-a-Service provider aims to put 12,000 heavy-duty electric trucks on California roads by the end of 2030. At their facility near the Port of Long Beach, the company is operating Class 8 heavy-duty electric tractors for variable routes throughout Southern California.
- Purolator – At their hub in Richmond, British Columbia, the company is operating Class 6 electric step vans and Class 2 electric delivery vans for local business and residential package delivery.
California Still Rules
Of the ten EV charging facilities participating in Run on Less – Electric DEPOT, only two are outside California. We expect to see infrastructure deployment in other states as well (Voltera is developing in strategic locations around the country), of course, but it makes sense that today fleets’ deployments are mostly concentrated in California. For many fleets, compliance with robust regulations like Advanced Clean Fleets requires an acceleration of electrification efforts; the opportunity cost for focusing outside the Golden State is relatively high. But given companies’ commitments to decarbonize across their fleets, we’ll see more infrastructure projects in other states once fleets have a handle on California.
Urban Transport Electrification Is Ramping, Too
Urban transport includes legacy ICE fleets such as taxis, newer rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, as well as typically EV-native autonomous vehicle companies operating fleets for ridehail and robotaxi. Across these segments, ZEV deployments are ramping up, as is demand for charging infrastructure.
Autonomous vehicle (AV) ridehail and robotaxi companies – many of which are ZEV fleets – are gaining traction across the country. The California Public Utilities Commission recently granted permits allowing both Cruise and Waymo in San Francisco to charge for rides any time without a ‘safety driver’ present. Cruise executive Prashanthi Raman called the decision a “historic industry milestone.” Waymo co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana called it “the true beginning” of its commercial operations in the city.
Waymo currently offers AV ridehail in Phoenix and San Francisco, with operations to begin soon in Los Angeles and Austin. Cruise currently operates in Phoenix, San Francisco, and Austin. In partnership with Lyft and Uber, Motional offers autonomous ridehail in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Zoox operates autonomous robotaxis in Foster City, CA and Las Vegas, NV although the company has not yet launched service to the public.
Non-autonomous ridesharing and taxi companies are electrifying as well. Uber and Lyft have both committed to 100% ZEVs in the U.S. by 2030. Last month New York City proposed a rule requiring all high-volume for-hire trips to be dispatched to EVs or wheelchair accessible vehicles by 2030. With about 100,000 for-hire vehicles in New York City alone, full electrification will create significant demand for charging infrastructure.
From electric AV ridehail and robotaxi fleets gaining market traction and moving beyond pilot phases to expand operations to non-AV rideshare and taxi companies transitioning to ZEV, there will be increasing demand for electrification at scale. Accordingly, expect to see EV charging infrastructure deployments in urban centers come online in increasing numbers.
All in all, I’m very excited about where the ZEV market is at today. Supply chain constraints continue to pose a challenge, and new headwinds will emerge I’m sure. But momentum for fleet ZEV charging infrastructure at scale is building. Voltera is thrilled to be a part of it.
Scott Fisher, SVP of Sales & Business Development at Voltera