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EV charging questions? Let's get some answers

Sept. 30, 2022
Committing substantial capital to transition a fleet to electric powertrains is a risky proposition if you don't even know what you don't know. FleetOwner will be at T&D World in Charlotte next week to speak with the experts.

In chatting with fleets about the transition to electric trucks, a major headwind seems to be that many decision-makers don't even know enough about EV charging to ask good questions. Of course, the truck OEMs are doing everything they can to guide customers, but smart shoppers will want to do some research on their own.

Among the advantages to working for the largest B2B media company in North America, we in the EBM Commercial Motor Vehicle Group have access to all sorts of experts in adjacent market verticals: construction, infrastructure, manufacturing, vehicle repair.

About a year ago I ran into Dave Schaller of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) at American Trucking Associations' Management Conference & Exhibition, and he asked if I had any connections on the charging side of the EV transition. Schaller spent last year working on NACFE’s Run on Less – Electric, an evaluation of zero-emission goods movement. Because NACFE is all about real-world applications, he realized he needed to get up to speed on the power grid: Electric trucks are here, but fleets have a lot of questions about plugging them in.

So I put Schaller in touch with EBM’s Energy team, specifically Teresa Hansen, VP of content for T&D World, which covers the planning, design, construction, operations, maintenance, and safety of transmission and distribution facilities.

And Schaller has received quite the education in 2022, attending—and presenting at—numerous electric utility-related events. He reports standing-room-only sessions, as the folks who run the grid have as many questions about electric fleets as fleets have about electric charging.

So when I heard about the T&D World Conference & Exhibition, set for next week in Charlotte, I invited myself and asked about the possibility of getting a FleetOwner slot on the program. Based on Schaller’s experience, there’s clearly a need to get fleets and charging infrastructure providers in the same room, so that’s what we’ve done.

The pre-conference seminar, Plugging In: Commercial EVs are Here. Now What?, has been organized around three sessions on Wednesday morning, ahead of the official conference that opens after lunch. Teresa and I will kick off the meeting by briefly presenting the research on commercial EV adoption done by our respective groups; we’ll then turn the floor over to the experts.

For the energy session, panelists will discuss where we are today in the deployment of appropriate charging systems and what it will take to transition to the rapid charging systems essential to longer distance freight movement.

On the fleet side, Schaller will moderate the session with DTNA’s Steve Mignardi and Mike Rowand of MicRogrid Consulting, who’s recently retired after more than 35 years with Duke Energy and who now provides consulting services to companies across the EV ecosystem.

We fully expect audience participation to be big part of these sessions—so if you’re anywhere near Charlotte next week, come get your questions answered.

And while the main event focuses on the many issues challenging utilities (that most of us don’t know or care about, as long as the lights come on), EV charging will be discussed again. Schaller will lead a Super Session, Same Words but Different Worlds, in which he’ll further educate the grid providers on fleet needs. And Preparing Grids to Meet the Growing Demand for EV Fleet Charging will taking a broader look at the implications of widespread EV adoption.

The FleetOwner/T&D World pre-conference session has a nominal registration fee independent of the full show, so fleets can swing by just for the morning. See the page link.

And we hope to see you there.

This article originally appeared in FleetOwner.com.

About the Author

Kevin Jones | Editor, Trailer/Body Builders

Kevin Jones is the Editor of Trailer/Body Builders.