All but one of the electric fleet depots being studied are in California.  -  Photo: HDT/Canva Graphic from UPS, PepsiCo photos

All but one of the electric fleet depots being studied are in California.

Photo: HDT/Canva Graphic from UPS, PepsiCo photos

It was almost two years ago, at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo (ACT Expo) in Long Beach, California, that the “infrastructure bomb” burst on the North American trucking industry. After several years of debating the viability of electric trucks, researching and developing them and eventually validating the technology, the trucking industry suddenly collectively realized that the infrastructure required to support large numbers of battery-electric trucks was essentially nonexistent.

The import of the message was clear: Deploying electric trucks on the scale needed to help North American trucking transition to a net-zero emissions industry was impossible without massive investments in both public and private charging infrastructure required to support them.

It’s a big enough of a hurdle for trucking that the North American Council for Freight Efficiency decided it needed to put its analysts on the case to determine the current state of charging infrastructure and what its future looks like. The result is NACFE and the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Run on Less – Electric Depot, which will take place this fall.

The goal of RoL-E Depot is to focus on current electric infrastructure scaling efforts being carried out by leading North American fleets across a variety of market segments. The three-week demonstration will showcase electric trucks delivering real freight on real routes.

On April 26, NACFE Executive Director Mike Roeth introduced the eight fleets the organization will be tracking.

“The following fleets are helping NACFE and its partner RMI showcase what it takes to move from one or two electric vehicles to 15 or more,” Roeth said. “The transition to electric vehicles is about much more than just the trucks themselves. It is about charging, infrastructure, grid capacity, resilience, etc. RoL-E Depot will allow NACFE to share best practices for scaling electric trucks at depots.”

The Fleets Scaling Electric Trucks

The eight fleets participating in RoL-E Depot are:

“As you undoubtedly noticed, the majority of fleets in RoL-E Depot are located in California,” added Dave Schaller, director of industry engagement for NACFE. “Our goal with this event was to showcase fleets that are now deploying 15 or more trucks, and we had hoped to have a wider geographic representation. The reality is that at this point the majority of fleets with 15 or more electric trucks are in California. But we believe they are a good representation of the benefits and challenges of deploying electric vehicles at scale.”

The participating fleets offer a real-world spectrum of battery-electric commercial vehicles, Roeth said. “We have everything from Class 8 tractor-trailers running regional routes down to brown UPS delivery trucks running around urban areas. So, we have a wide range of electric trucks with different charging requirements that will help us understand how those demands affect charging infrastructure for fleets.”

The three-week RoL-E Depot event will start on Sept. 11 and will feature metrics and real-world stories on

“We’re really looking forward to sharing information on charging infrastructure, engagement with utilities, total cost of ownership management, truck performance, driver and technician training, charge management, and more to help the entire industry move to a cleaner freight future,” Roeth said.

In addition to the Rol-E Depot participants, NACFE will feature stories about emerging depots.

“In our vetting of the fleet depots for this Run, we came across fleets that are on the cusp of scaling up the number of electric vehicles in their operation,” he explained. “While they did not meet the criteria for this year’s Run, we still believe there are valuable lessons they can teach us.”

This is NACFE’s fourth event in the Run on Less series. The first, Run on Less 2017, focused on long-haul routes. Run on Less Regional focused on 10 fleets hauling in a wide variety of regional haul applications. Run on Less – Electric was a real-world electric truck technology demonstration that featured 13 trucks.

Reporting for (Electric) Boot Camp

Leading up to ROL-E Depot will be a 10-session Electric Depot Bootcamp, Roeth said. The first session, Best Practices for Utility-Fleet Relationships, was held on April 25. The next session, Grants and Incentives for the Trucks and Infrastructure, is May 16.

Other topics are:

  • Electric Truck Developments
  • Faster Charging — Opportunities and Challenges at 360KW and Higher
  • Opportunities to Extend BEV Range
  • Electricity Resiliency and Availability
  • Current and Future Regulations for Zero-Emission Trucks
  • Selecting and Managing Cost-Effective Charging
  • Scaling Charging Infrastructure Equipment
  • Electric Deport Site Planning and Construction

Register for the Electric Depot Bootcamp.

Watch UPS' Anthony Marshall discuss the Freightliner eCascadia and its Compton, California, electric truck operations:

About the author
Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts

Executive Editor

Jack Roberts is known for reporting on advanced technology, such as intelligent drivetrains and autonomous vehicles. A commercial driver’s license holder, he also does test drives of new equipment and covers topics such as maintenance, fuel economy, vocational and medium-duty trucks and tires.

View Bio