The Port of Long Beach on July 24 revealed its first electric charging depot for medium- and heavy-duty trucks in a grand opening ceremony.
This facility, located at Pier A in the Port of Long Beach, will operate 14 brand-new Nikola Tre electric trucks. To accelerate zero-emission transportation, WattEV plans to acquire 12,000 heavy-duty trucks to put on the road by 2030.
This facility endeavor took 14 months of construction, with estimated costs around $5 million to $6 million funded in partnership with several companies and nonprofit organizations such as Calstart, Southern California Edison, and the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation.
“We know that the future of, not just our ports, but the country is electric; it’s the transition to clean energy,” said House Rep. Robert Garcia, D-42nd District, in his speech. “So, this is a very exciting time for the Port of Long Beach, and also the state and the country.”
The ceremony, hosting multiple industry, government and environmental partners and stakeholders, highlighted the importance of such a site helping to reduce diesel exhaust emissions generated by trucks working in the port.
“Being a leader in accelerating the transition of U.S. trucking transport to zero emissions is what WattEV does,” said David Chow, vice president and chief operating officer at green tech nonprofit Calstart.
The charging depot has 13 dual-cord CCS 360 kW charging stations. These chargers, while primarily intended for WattEV brand trucks, can be used to charge other electric truck models as well, under its Truck-as-a-Service Model that seeks to make electric Class 8 trucks accessible, affordable, and reliable for all carriers and owner-operators.
Under full charge, which can take about two to three hours, the trucks can travel around 200 to 300 miles. This means vehicle range is an issue compared to diesel-powered trucks. Conventional trucks powered by internal combustion engines can travel more than four times the distance that a battery-electric truck can on a full tank of diesel fuel and only need 20–30 minutes to refuel.
Acknowledging these problems, WattEV CEO Salim Youssefzadeh stressed the development and future implementation of megawatt charging at this facility to help bring that two- to three-hour charging window down to the average.
“Megawatt charging is an important aspect of our business in terms of getting us to where we want to be for battery charge,” Youssefzadeh said.
Future Electric-Truck Charging Facilities
Although WattEV said this depot is the largest of its kind not only in California, but in the nation, it only takes up 1.5 acres. This will soon change, as there are three more sites under construction and set to be finished by the end of the year in San Bernardino, Gardena, and Bakersfield, California.
“This is our smallest facility. Some of our other ones would be much larger and have the traditional rest area amenities. Bakersfield, for instance, that's 115 acres,” said Youssefzadeh in an interview.
After the four other facilities are finished, WattEV hopes to expand outside of the state in Arizona and New Mexico, while also looking toward the East Coast.
Correction: A caption has been corrected that erroneously identified the Nikola Tre truck.
Originally posted on Trucking Info