Accelerating Freight Electrification is Heavy Work

January 5, 2021

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2020 was a historic and challenging year – a global pandemic, an increased focus on social justice and equity, and a tense presidential election. While much of the country was understandably focused on those critical issues, last year was also an important period for transportation electrification, marked by numerous positive advancements to expand the opportunities in electric transportation: states creating ambitious vehicle targets, an expansion of charging infrastructure, and a rapidly expanding EV market.

The increased focus on polices and actions is happening at the local, state, and federal level, and the Electrification Coalition (EC) is looking forward to supercharging the momentum in 2021 as we work to accelerate our electrified transportation future.

In 2020 states created ambitious EV targets, expanded charging infrastructure, and increased policies supporting EVs.

Transportation Electrification Is Poised to Go Heavy in 2021

As we look ahead to 2021, the EC is excited to help accelerate key policies to electrify the freight industry. Although there are many challenges, freight presents a unique opportunity for companies to realize the widespread economic, operational, and sustainability benefits of electrification. While medium- and heavy-duty vehicles represented only 6% of vehicles registered in 2018, they were responsible for 26% of U.S. petroleum consumption and 23% of our transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Electric trucks can support lifecycles that are cost-competitive, domestically powered, and significantly cleaner than their traditional diesel alternatives.

Collaborating to Demonstrate Scalable Solutions

In order to tackle the many challenges associated with freight electrification, the EC and its partners have invested resources into identifying the barriers to transitioning medium- and heavy-duty trucks to electric and proposing actionable solutions that every stakeholder — utilities, corporate fleets, truck manufacturers, policymakers, and more — should take. Hundreds of conversations with leaders at private companies, public institutions, industry groups, and non-profit organizations has developed a more comprehensive picture of the electric truck market to better define the needed policies to accelerate the transition.

Electric trucks can support lifecycles that are cost-competitive and significantly cleaner than diesel alternatives.

We released a recent report that documented those extensive conversations, Electrifying Freight: Pathways to Accelerating the Transition. The report offered an early-stage view of the challenges the market faces and some steps to reduce the challenges.  It’s also exciting to see the technology has caught up to the industry, we just need to move faster. You can read more about the report on the ACT News website.

Scalable, Replicable Freight Electrification Deployments

In addition to expanding the understanding of the challenges and solutions to freight electrification, the EC is also deeply engaged in partnerships that will advance our transition to by demonstrating scalable solutions through “real-world” program transitions that will convert household brand names from fossil fuel delivery to electricity.

The momentum for freight electrification is building every day, and EC is excited about what 2021 has in store.

For example, the EC recently announced a partnership with Nestlé to support the company’s pilot freight electrification plan, beginning with the deployment of electric trucks on a 20-mile short-haul route in Ohio that will serve as a critical public-private pilot program to accelerate electrified freight at scale. In this new partnership, the EC will provide critical technical support in partnership with Nestlé to deploy their first U.S. electric trucks, as well as consider barriers and policy options to further benefit freight electrification efforts. Together, we will also advocate for other pathways to facilitate the deployment of electrified freight and goods delivery vehicles and EV charging infrastructure.

The momentum for transportation electrification is building every day, and we’re excited about what 2021 has in store. Innovative new models of electric trucks are hitting the market at a record pace, an increasing number of fleets are looking to go electric to meet sustainability goals and save money, and a there is a growing sense of excitement about electric vehicles across the country.

Fully electrifying our freight sector is not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. The EC is looking forward to continued collaboration with industry and stakeholders so we can take major strides on that journey in 2021.