A recent study shows that electric vehicle (EV) semi-truckers could turn highway truck stops into major power stations to fuel up the large vehicles.
- A November study from National Grid PLC finds that electrifying gas stations will require as much power as a sports stadium, and truck stops will require the power of a small town by 2035.
- Researchers were surprised by the results and the realities that a damaging infrastructure will create, Bloomberg reports.
- Connecting to the power grid can require five megawatts and costs tens of millions of dollars.
- $1.2-billion in EV investments have been made in the past year, and the Biden administration has already committed to expanding the charging network.
Why It’s Important
The global economy has significantly shifted in the past year as it attempts to redirect from fossil-fuel consumption to clean-energy solutions. Chief among these concerns is the issue of gas-powered vehicles, which major automakers have been directed to progressively phase out by 2035 in favor of EVs.
However, the size and complexity of the transition are beginning to cool expectations. Leading industry figures at Toyota have repeatedly argued that the transition needs to be handled more measuredly, with hybrids and gas-powered vehicles having a role to play for less affluent consumers. Global supply chains are currently not in a place where EVs can be mass-produced with current supplies of raw materials, and most consumers cannot afford them.
Tesla has been working for several years to develop an EV semi-truck that can be competitive in the automobile market, but it has faced several challenges and delays. Such a truck will also face difficulties in the shipping market, as EVs require constant charging every few hundred miles. The shipping industry is handled by truckers permitted by the Department of Transportation to drive 10 to 12 hours daily, which could create a difficult and slow adoption process.
As we previously reported, the existing EV charging infrastructure is insufficient. Tesla’s network of 17,000 charging stations is the largest in the country, but it is far below the Biden administration’s goal of 500,000. Many existing charging stations have a failure rate as high as 21.4%.
“It’s not like plugging in a toaster. If you put 50 trucks somewhere, that is basically equivalent to a factory. Utilities know how to build factories, but it’s the process, and sequencing required that’s scary to me. Utilities need to be starting half a decade ahead of the trucks in order to not be bottlenecking the transition to electric trucks,” says RMI Energy Research Institute analyst Dave Mullaney.