EPRI, CALSTART Receive CEC Funding to Develop Megawatt Truck Charging Along California Freight Corridors

January 18, 2022

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Jan. 19, 2022) — The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and CALSTART have been awarded $13 million from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to jump start California’s high-power charging infrastructure for medium and heavy-duty vehicles. The two organizations will lead a first-of-its-kind collaboration to launch the country’s first zero-emission, freight-charging corridor network.

The multi-phase project, Research Hub for Electric Technologies in Truck Applications (RHETTA), will commence with a community-first engagement framework to ensure that pollution-impacted communities, low-income communities, and tribal communities are involved in creating and guiding the initiative.

Phase one of the RHETTA project will begin this month, with the goal of developing, testing, and implementing high-power electric vehicle (EV) chargers for trucks near Southern California’s two ports. The project will work toward developing high-power chargers that can provide 100 miles of range in less than 10 minutes and cost less than $500 per kW. Each pilot site will have two charging units that will serve as demonstrations sites to test and validate their use and impact. The high-power charging support extending the range of electric trucks and increase their market penetration. The first phase of the project runs through 2025.

Other key elements include the creation of:

  • An online freight heatmap outlining freight hubs, travel patterns along major freight corridors, truck stops, and locations for truck charging in a web-accessible tool;
  • Two high-power charging demonstration sites — one near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and one in the Inland Empire — to provide technology and operational data; and
  • A plan for a statewide charging corridor network, including a workforce development strategy and templates for key freight corridors.

“Electrifying transportation is central to the clean energy transition, and this project has tremendous value in the adoption of electric, zero-emission trucks along one of the heaviest traveled corridors in Southern California,” said EPRI President and CEO Arshad Mansoor. “Proven successful, high-power charging could be replicated throughout the country, accelerating the clean energy economy.”

“CALSTART is committed to a community-first stakeholder engagement approach to advance high-power charging at publicly accessible sites in Southern California,” said Jasna Tomic, vice president at CALSTART. “With equity as a critical lens to our technical planning, CALSTART looks forward to collaborating with the Energy Commission, industry, and communities to deploy the nation’s first, zero-emission freight corridor.”

“The California Energy Commission is proud to support this unique, forward-thinking project,” said CEC Chair David Hochschild. “Transportation electrification has been one of the CEC’s top priorities the last few years, and this demonstration will provide a glimpse into what the larger future will look like for the trucking industry in the state, not to mention the benefits that will come, especially for those communities so heavily impacted today by pollution from fossil fuel-powered medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.”

This collaborative effort engages stakeholders representing fleets, ports, planning agencies, community-based organizations, utilities, academia, OEMs, infrastructure developers, and solution providers. Project partners include: Southern California Edison; Southern California Association of Governments; GRID Alternatives; Cambridge Systematics, Inc.; Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc.; Momentum; ORBCOMM, Inc.; GNA; Paul International; MMX, LLC; and TravelCenters of America, LLC, as well as world-class labs and universities — including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and University of California, Riverside.

The project builds on EPRI’s existing work in electric transportation and other electrification technologies. Learn more here.

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