March 12, 2024

Biden administration rolls out power grid plan for electric trucks


WASHINGTON — The Biden administration has selected 12,000 miles of freight-heavy interstates and the country’s largest container ports to begin a 16-year plan to deploy battery-charging and hydrogen-refueling stations for electric trucks.

The four-phase National Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Strategy, unveiled Tuesday, initially targets local and regional “return-to-base” trucking operations, first- and last-mile delivery, and port drayage while gradually accommodating long-haul trucking.

A core objective of the strategy, detailed in a 300-page document developed by the U.S. departments of Energy and Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, “is to meet freight truck and technology markets where they are today, determine where they are likely to develop next, and set an ambitious pathway that mobilizes actions to achieve decarbonization,” according to the Federal Highway Administration.

In conjunction with the charging strategy, FHWA also announced on Tuesday that it has designated the agency’s National Highway Freight Network (NHFN), along with roadways in several states, as the National EV Freight Corridors network.

The national EV strategy and the corridors network align with the administration’s goal to promote at least 30% zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty truck sales by 2030 and 100% by 2040.

“Medium- and heavy-duty trucks in our current freight network contribute approximately 23% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. transportation sector,” commented FHWA Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “These new designations and strategy will help to grow our national EV charging network, encourage clean commerce within the freight community, and support President Biden’s goals of achieving net-zero emissions for the nation by 2050.”

Electric truck infrastructure phases and progress timeline. Source: U.S. Joint Office of Energy and Transportation

The strategy aims to accelerate adoption of battery-electric and fuel-cell electric trucks by focusing initially on freight hubs with a 100-mile transport radius and moving toward a complete network, in four phases:

  • Establish priority hubs based on freight volumes (2024-2027).
  • Connect hubs along critical freight corridors (2027-2030).
  • Expand corridor connections initiating network development (2030-2035).
  • Achieve full access to national network by linking regional corridors (2035-2040).

Phase 1 targets 12,000 miles of interstate (23% of the NHFN), including Interstates 5, 10, 25, 75, 80, 95, and the Texas Triangle including Interstates 10, 45 and 35.

Zero-emission truck hubs in Phase 1 also include 100-mile “freight ecosystems” centered around major container ports, including the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, the Port of Miami, the Houston Port Authority, and the Port of Savannah, Georgia.

In Phase 2, “non-tractor-trailer truck (e.g., Class 4-6 straight delivery trucks) activity likely remains battery-EV-dominant, with early introduction of hydrogen fuel cell electric truck technology for longer-distance travel,” according to the strategy. “Operations expand with increased regional goods distribution (e.g., port drayage) and initial deployments of long-haul transportation.”

In Phase 4, the strategy expands from intermodal hubs and port facilities to include truck parking facilities “which will increasingly service [zero-emission trucks] across all use cases,” the strategy states.

“A fully integrated transportation energy system will be essential to supporting use cases across all vehicle classes and duty cycles, allowing for local, regional, and long-haul transportation of goods and services.”

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.


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