A solar-powered truck stop for heavy-duty electric trucks, believed to be the first of its kind in California, is expected to break ground in late October in Bakersfield and to be open by late October 2022.
The truck stop is being built by WattEV Inc. with the help of a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission. The company called the grant an important milestone in its effort to deploy 12,000 electric heavy-duty trucks on the road by 2030.
The announcement was made at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo 2021 in Long Beach, just ahead of the anticipated approval of the grant. The company first announced plans to build the electric truck stop in May.
“The electric truck stop in Bakersfield is the first step toward our commitment to help build the charging infrastructure network necessary to accelerate the heavy-duty trucking sector’s transition to electric drive, and to get more heavy-duty electric trucks on the road in California as quickly as possible,” said Salim Youssefzadeh, chief executive officer of WattEV.
Partners joining WattEV and the CEC on the Bakersfield electric truck stop project include the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, the Central California Asthma Collaborative, Greenlots, Power Electronics and several others.
In addition to the Bakersfield project, WattEV is in the planning stages for similar projects in San Bernardino and Gardena in Southern California. Both of these electric truck stops will serve the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach and the warehouses fed by goods coming through the ports. To enable these projects and support further expansion, WattEV has raised $6 million in private equity seed funding led by Canon Equity.
WattEV also has secured purchase incentive vouchers through the California Air Resources Board’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP), initially for six Volvo VNR Electric Class 8 trucks, and has applied for 24 more electric truck HVIP vouchers.
Electric Trucks as a Service
All told, WattEV plans to run its own fleet of 30 heavy-duty electric trucks by the end of 2022 to deploy under contract with several Southern California fleet customers, providing transportation as a service.
The first fleet partnership is with Total Transportation Services Inc. (TTSI), one of the leading freight transporters making the transition to EV trucks serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which also has a presence in Bakersfield. TTSI will be offering electric transport freight services to shippers in Southern California on routes served by WattEV’s platform.
To help accelerate the transition to electric goods movement, WattEV is developing an advanced software platform to offer trucks as a service, designed specifically for the use of electric trucks within its network of charging stations on designated routes. The TaaS platform will offer an all-inclusive, charge-per-mile formula that will enable a transporter to efficiently and cost-effectively use an electric truck to move goods normally handled with diesel trucks on the routes selected by shippers committed to clean air.