Less than a mile from Interstate 5 in Portland, Oregon, a new heavy-duty electric truck charging site opened April 21. Called “Electric Island,” it’s a joint project of Daimler Trucks North America and Portland General Electric, designed to accelerate the development, testing and deployment of zero-emissions commercial vehicles.
Electric Island opens with eight vehicle charging stations for electric cars, buses, box vans and semi-trucks. A majority of these stations are available for public use. The facility will allow PGE and DTNA to study energy management, charger use and performance – and, in the case of DTNA, its own vehicles’ charging performance.
Located across the street from DTNA headquarters, the facility represents the first location specifically designed for medium- and heavy-duty trucks aligned to the blueprint of the West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative, according to DTNA. WCCTCI’s collaboration between nine electric utilities and two government agencies yielded a strategic plan in 2020 to electrify 1,300 miles of I-5 across the three West Coast states to provide publicly available charging for freight and delivery trucks.
“For the first time in our history, we have to deliver not just a reliable, dependable, economic truck, but we have to address the entire ecosystem around this vehicle,” said Nate Hill of Daimler Trucks North America in a video provided to reporters by DTNA. “We get to test our vehicles with many different chargers, test the performance of each of these chargers with our vehicles, and experiment with different software to help us manage these chargers.”
The Electric Island site is designed to be flexible, allowing the chargers of today to be replaced with new charger technologies of the future, including planned 1+ megawatt chargers, when they are released. Additional plans for future on-site energy storage, solar power generation, and a product and technology showcase building remain under development.
“The site has up to 5 megawatts of capacity, making it easy… to add new, more advanced charging stations as the technology progresses,” explained Joe Colett with PGE. “The site also has room for complementary grid edge technologies, thing like energy storage, on site generation, and an advanced control system to help all these technologies work together.”
The site will provide insights into charging issues such as:
- Use of vehicle chargers featuring power delivery of up to over one megawatt (over four times faster than today’s fastest light-duty vehicle chargers), enabling PGE and DTNA to develop best practices for cost-effective future deployments;
- Integration of heavy-duty charging technology into PGE’s Smart Grid, such as vehicle-to-grid technologies, second-life use of Daimler’s battery packs, and onsite energy generation; and
- Testing information technology opportunities like fleet and energy management by captive solutions and services.
“Through collaboration with great partners like Portland General Electric, we are helping to shape the future of carbon-neutral freight transportation, starting right here in the City of Portland,” said John O’Leary, president and CEO of DTNA, in a statement. “Moreover, the manufacture of reliable, durable and efficient medium- and heavy-duty battery electric trucks will take place just down the road at our Portland Truck Manufacturing Plant, demonstrating that we truly are crafting an Electric Island.”