Daimler Truck North America will join Duke Energy and Electrada as a founding participant of an electric truck program at a soon-to-be-built microgrid-integrated fleet electrification center in North Carolina.
Duke Energy, one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S., is building a facility that will develop, test and deploy light-, medium- and heavy-duty commercial electric vehicle fleets. By the end of 2023, fleet operators will have access to a commercial-grade fleet charging depot, integrated with energy storage, solar and optimization software.
The site will be located at Duke Energy’s Mount Holly Technology and Innovation Center located adjacent to one of DTNA’s largest East Coast manufacturing facilities. The OEMs proximity to the site creates an opportunity to utilize the chargers at the site and also demonstrate charging technologies to customers visiting the plant in the future, Duke Energy officials said in a press release.
“This first-of-its-kind, microgrid-enabled fleet depot will be critical to advancing fleet electrification and building confidence with fleet owners,” said Jeff Allen, senior vice president of operations and specialty vehicles at DTNA.
The center will be able to be connected either to the Duke Energy grid, charging from the bulk electric system, or powered by 100% carbon-free resources through the microgrid located at Mount Holly. The project is one of the first electric fleet depots to offer a microgrid charging option.
“We are helping speed commercial fleet electrification across the Duke Energy footprint through innovations like this, while we electrify our own fleet,” said Harry Sideris, executive vice president of customer experience, solutions and services for Duke Energy.
Electrada Partners with Duke Energy
Duke Energy is teaming with Electrada, an electric fuel solutions company, as part of a larger fleet electrification collaboration. Electrada invests all required capital “behind the meter” on behalf of fleet owners and delivers charging to fleet electric vehicles through a performance contract, eliminating the complexity and risk that fleets face in transitioning to this new source of fuel, company officials said in a press release.
The Electrada model provides conversion for fleets that ensures grid integrity and removes electric fleet charging price volatility, according to the company. Electrada’s investment on the depot side allows Duke Energy to focus on distribution system performance to support the predictable addition of electric load over time.
In addition to fleet charging, the site will also function as an innovation hub, allowing Duke Energy to study charger use, performance, management and energy integration.
Testing various models of charging scenarios will enable energy load shaping, which can be used to ensure proper grid or microgrid distribution, Duke Energy officials said.