It’s Time to Prepare the Grid for the Long Haul

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With electric long-haul trucks on the way, utilities need to prepare for higher power charging and related grid impacts, according to an EPRI Quick Insights paper.

With falling battery prices, more truck manufacturers are considering production of short- and long-haul electric trucks. Daimler’s trucking division is deploying and testing two medium-range electric trucks. Tesla announced plans to manufacture trucks with 300-mile and 500-mile ranges, beginning next year. While the price of the 500-mile model ($180,000) is $60,000 more than a diesel-fueled semi truck, Tesla claims that its truck will save about $250,000 over the first million miles relative to a diesel. Dozens of companies have placed advance orders.

To be viable, electric semis require widely deployed high-power fast chargers, with significant implications for the electric grid. The 500-mile Tesla model will require 1.6 megawatt chargers to provide 80% of capacity in 30 minutes, which in turn will require truck stops to add these chargers. Consider this: If the world’s largest truck stop in Walcott, Iowa, deployed 35 such chargers, it would add a connected load of 63 megawatts.

“This amount of power may be available in an optimally located truck stop, but it may require expensive upgrades in others,” the report says.

The Charging Interface Initiative (CharIN), a charging standards group, is working on a charging connector that can handle up to 1.6 megawatts.

EPRI is evaluating the four largest fast charging plazas in the United States, examining how to plan for and deploy high-power fast charging plazas for all sizes of electric vehicles—and assessing the potential impacts on distribution and transmission grids.

Key EPRI Technical Experts:

Dan Bowermaster
For more information, contact techexpert@eprijournal.com.

Artwork by Kirk Anderson