As more and more news breaks about the developments pushing forward the coming tide of electric trucks, HDT Talks Trucking‘s host Jim Park spoke with Paul Rosa, senior vice president of procurement and fleet planning for Penske Truck Leasing, to hear about the lessor’s experience with installing charging infrastructure for commercial vehicles at a site in Southern California.
For starters, Rosa explained that setting up truck charging is not yet anything like a quick, in-and-out deal. “This project really goes back years, to when we were first talking about zero-emission or near-zero emission vehicles,” he told Park. “And then around 2017, it really started to get clear we needed to get closer to this. We needed to be out front and understand all that’s involved.”
Rosa said that, boiled down, this site project was “always about understanding everything that could go right and everything that would go wrong. And then properly preparing for that.”
“As a company of our size, supporting the customer base that we do, we need to understand all the classes of equipment, Class 3 all the way on up to Class 8, [that customers operate],” he said.
The project has yielded “an awful lot of information and knowledge to properly prepare our customers, as well as our organization and our facilities, for the many, many electric vehicles that will be coming in the years to come,” he continued. “I’ll use a sports analogy. I think we’re past the pregame planning after lots of prep work. We’ve just finished up the first quarter with most of the game left to play, including a halftime to evaluate what’s going on and making adjustments.”
According to Rosa, the many lessons learned start with the clock. On that, you want to get a running start. “We knew we had some lead time [for the install] before the electric trucks came to us. We were okay, but you’ve got a lot to figure out. … There’s more to it than people realize. That’s why we’re encouraging our customers to seek out information [on charging infrastructure as well as the vehicles].”
Tune into the podcast to hear Rosa’s thorough account of the project and lessons learned, including delving into the topics of:
Facility upgrades. “When you start talking to customers that have been in their facilities for many years, and you now need to put in charging infrastructure, that can pose some pretty dramatic challenges from an upgrade perspective.”
Installation costs. “You have to go back to what does a customer need. How many vehicles are they going to operate? What kind of vehicles? Are they all going to be the same kind of vehicle? What’s their duty cycle? Do they require fast charging? Or can they charge over a seven to ten hour period?
Driver Training. “We start with a safety orientation, that’s first and foremost. Then we get into the drivability of the vehicle. And there’s orientation about how you can get greater range. That means don’t be driving fast right out of the gate. And don’t go fast and don’t stop fast. Where there are different drivers that get in the vehicle on different days, it can become a little bit of a competition on who can get more range. You can see who has more kilowatts left in the battery when they come back.”
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