Daimler Truck North America is laying the foundation to form a joint venture to design, develop, install and operate a nationwide, high-performance charging network for medium- and heavy-duty battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell trucks in the U.S.
Lack of a publicly available, nationwide electric charging infrastructure for commercial vehicles, especially those used for long-haul freight operations, remains one of the biggest barriers for widespread deployment of electric trucks, DTNA officials said.
Together with renewable energy generator NextEra Energy Resources and renewable power equity investment platform BlackRock Renewable Power, the three parties will pool their resources to address this challenge. They plan to build a network of charging sites on critical freight routes along the east and west coasts and in Texas by 2026, building on existing infrastructure and amenities while adding complementary greenfield sites to fulfill anticipated customer demand. The first phase is set to begin construction in 2023.
DTNA’s goal is to start operations later this year. Initial funding is expected to be approximately $650 million divided equally among the three parties.
The initial focus will be on battery electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, followed by hydrogen fueling stations for fuel cell trucks; the sites will also be available for light-duty vehicles to serve the greater goal of electrifying mobility.
"Our joint investment will act as a catalyst to make a carbon-neutral trucking industry a reality,” John O'Leary, president and CEO DTNA, said. “This project is a critical step toward developing a sustainable zero-emission vehicle ecosystem across North America, and we look forward to including additional partners as it progresses. We are committed to providing access to this network not only for the DTNA vehicle brands, but also for any manufacturers using predominant industry charging standards and communication protocols."