An OEM’s Perspective on Charging Infrastructure for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles—Part 1

By A.J. Palmisano, Director, EV Charging & Infrastructure, for International Truck and IC Bus. 

Charging infrastructure. Two words that pack a lot of power when discussing the transition of medium- and heavy-duty internal combustion engine vehicles to electric.

In episode four of “The EV Fleet Road Map” podcast, we break down all things charging infrastructure—from behind-the-fence fleet charging and the need for public infrastructure to selecting the best chargers for fleets’ unique operations and ensuring fleets are planning out for the future.

When talking with customers about what they should expect in terms of charging speed and meeting their application demand, one of the first steps in the process is analyzing customer routes and determining how many chargers they need. The goal is to work with fleets, so they don’t incur unnecessary costs during the charging process.

Part of that includes determining whether customers need behind-the-fence charging, which is optimal for vehicles that park at home every night or back at the fleet's parking lot. We also consider best practices such as avoiding pulling in too much power too quickly to prevent demand charges and extra costs from the utility company.

Another key to saving costs down the road is making sure facilities are future-proofed for ongoing electric vehicle needs. Although it might be difficult at first to determine where a fleet operation will be five years from now, one thing we know is how much energy new vehicles will require. Lean on your original equipment manufacturer to help determine future power needs.

Based on lessons learned from early adopters, we’ve also found that the best practice today is building out the infrastructure now for the future. Building out infrastructure is a process—and it’s costly. When it comes to tearing up the ground, pulling permits, and trenching, you only want to do that once. The analogy I like to use is properly planning out the number of holes you put in the wall during a kitchen renovation. You wouldn’t want to tear up your kitchen multiple times; the same thought process applies when it comes to building out infrastructure.

Because charging infrastructure is such a major undertaking for fleets and dealers alike, we have a follow-up podcast episode on this topic where we bring in our integrated infrastructure solutions partner Quanta Services to discuss how they help us work with utilities and do all things in power delivery to take the burden off our customers.

Before we dive into the second round of charging infrastructure, we’re breaking things up a bit with our next episode on customer onboarding and the keys to success for fleets. You won’t want to miss it. Until next time …

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