Earlier this week California announced they are now allowing private entities to sell electricity as motor fuel at charging stations. The announcement was made by Volvo Trucks North America as they worked in conjunction with other companies to facilitate the change. Prior to this news, Transport Topics states “California utilities were guided by a 2010 CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) decision exempting light-duty vehicle charging station providers from being regulated as a utility, but did not explicitly exempt medium and heavy duty charging station providers.” Three of the companies that joined Volvo’s effort include Trillium, a brand of the Love’s family of companies, Greenlots, a member of Shell Group, and Calstart, a non-profit organization focused on clean transportation technology.
Trillium has plans to build one of the first publicly accessible charging stations for heavy duty trucks in the country. This station will be located on the border of Placentia and Anaheim California. The introduction of heavy-duty charging availability poses a new question into the energy space, so what impact will this have on a transportation carrier who runs an electric vehicle fleet? Mike Roeth, the executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency says, “it’s great that electricity can now be sold by the kilowatt-hour for medium and heavy duty vehicles because it helps clarify the costs to charge and ensures it’s being charged more fairly. So it’s good for fleets, particularly those who would need to rely on public or shared infrastructure to charge.” Looking at California as a whole, this development is a step towards lower emissions from all vehicle types. Currently the California Air Resources Board, is requiring automakers to increase sales of electric fuel cell and other zero emission vehicles through 2025. On a larger scale, the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, issued an executive order that requires all new cars sold in the state to be zero emission vehicles by 2035. Under this order the medium-heavy duty vehicles need to be zero emission by 2045 where possible.