Bill Bliem, senior vice president of fleet services at NFI, speaking at ACT Expo about the JETSI project. - Photo: ACT Expo

Bill Bliem, senior vice president of fleet services at NFI, speaking at ACT Expo about the JETSI project.

Photo: ACT Expo

NFI Industries will work with Electrify America to create what the two say will be the nation’s single largest charging infrastructure project to support heavy-duty electric trucks, with 34 ultra-fast DC chargers slated for completion by December 2023.

The fleet will need the chargers, because NFI is part of a project to deploy 100 electric trucks in California, also announced this week at ACT Expo in Long Beach, California. NFI will be taking delivery of 30 Freightliner eCascadias and 30 Volvo VNR Electrics. It was one of the first fleets to test both of these Class 8 battery-electric trucks in real-world operations, starting in 2018.

NFI is also one of the fleets participating in the North American Council for Freight Efficiency’s Run on Less-Electric demonstration program.

How to Charge 60 Electric Trucks?

NFI will be putting 30 Volvo VNR Electric (shown) and 30 Freightliner eCascadia battery-electric trucks in service in southern California. - Photo: Electrify America

NFI will be putting 30 Volvo VNR Electric (shown) and 30 Freightliner eCascadia battery-electric trucks in service in southern California.

Photo: Electrify America

As the largest open DC fast charging network in the U.S., Electrify America was selected to deploy charging solutions for the NFI project, including site configuration and energy management services.   

NFI’s fleet of 60 battery-electric drayage trucks will be the first 100% zero-emission fleet operator and truck shop in California, according to a news release. The Joint Electric Truck Scaling Initiative, or JETSI, will help fund 50 of the trucks, with 10 additional Volvo VNR Electrics  funded by Volvo Trucks North America and SWITCH-ON. 

The charging infrastructure to support this fleet will be installed at NFI’s Ontario, California, facility and feature 150kW and 350 kW ultra-fast chargers. The chargers will serve NFI’s growing fleet of battery-electric freight trucks used for drayage at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, picking up containers from the ports and transporting them back to the Ontario facility. 

To bolster resiliency, leverage renewable electricity, and reduce ongoing costs, multiple megawatts (MW) of distributed energy resources will be co-located with the charging infrastructure, including both solar photovoltaic and energy storage. 

"As NFI continues to spearhead supply chain sustainability and minimize the industry's environmental impact, many elements need to align to ensure we continue making progress," said Bill Bliem, senior vice president of fleet services at NFI and a former HDT Truck Fleet Innovator.

"Throughout our experience, we've learned that having the right partners, technology, and access to safe, reliable and fast-charging infrastructure are essential to the successful implementation of EVs. We are excited for this opportunity to collaborate with the charging infrastructure experts at Electrify America as we move beyond our demonstration projects and scale our Ontario facility infrastructure to support a 100% electric drayage fleet." 

In addition to NFI and Electrify America’s investments, the electric truck charging infrastructure project is partially funded by a joint project between the California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District through the JETSI project to advance electric fleet adoption.

Electrify America and NFI announced an ambitious electric-truck charging infrastructure project at ACT Expo. - Photo: ACT Expo

Electrify America and NFI announced an ambitious electric-truck charging infrastructure project at ACT Expo.

Photo: ACT Expo

More Electrify America Charging Projects

This announcement comes on the heels of Electrify America’s second “Green City” investment to advance charging electrification for public transit and heavy-duty electric vehicles in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, among other areas of the Wilmington neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles. 

Electrify America also recently announced its Boost Plan to more than double its current EV charging infrastructure in the United States and Canada, with plans to have more than 1,800 ultra-fast charging stations and 10,000 individual chargers installed by the end of 2025. The expansion will increase the deployment of 150 and 350 kilowatt chargers – 350kW being the fastest speed commercially available today – and help pave the way for more electric vehicles in North America. 

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