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Charging Technology

How to Get the Most Value Out of Class 8 EV Trucks Today

If you’re in the midst of operationalizing your first few Class 8 EV trucks, you’re likely already beginning to think about how the EV use case will scale. If that EV is doing one single shift in a day, can you increase that to 2 shifts? And as you introduce more EVs into your fleet, how do you tweak your existing driver schedules to optimize as efficiently as possible? How do you get EVs to contribute to more of your business needs by covering more routes?

The short answer: You may be able to get more use out of your existing trucks, even with the charging network available today, thereby enabling those trucks to do more business in a day.  

Most fleets assume that charging their trucks overnight is the simplest option — when in reality, most of the EV trucks available on the market today can recoup up to 75 miles in 30 minutes or less at a Terawatt site.

Keep reading for insights into how to make the most of what’s available today.

Class 8 EV Use Case 1: Spot Charging

Terawatt’s charging network can unlock quick charging refills that coincide with driver breaks, enabling a single truck to travel further in any given day – both for more miles and to reach further distances. Even a 30-minute charging stop provides an average of 45 additional miles of range.

Here’s an example: One fleet has been looking for a way to complete two to three turns between the Port of Long Beach, CA and their distribution center on the I-5 north of the Grapevine pass in one day (roughly 98 miles each way).

Without any charging in between the 2 locations, the truck would be able to complete one single round trip — assuming it was almost fully charged upon departure from the Port — and would likely charge overnight near the Port upon its return. Given that the round-trip journey takes only 4 hours, this would force the truck to then remain idle for the majority of a day, leading to lost usage and lost revenue opportunities.

By leveraging 180kW chargers both at Terawatt’s Rancho Dominguez, CA site as well as behind the fleet’s fence at their warehouse, the fleet is able to confidently engage in daily operations that maximize the driver and truck’s output. They can start the day on a full charge, complete a turn, return for a top-up charge, and go back on their way to put more miles on the truck in one day of business. Our site supports trucks with or without a trailer/chassis in tow for maximum flexibility.

Another example is a fleet that is primarily doing quick trips to and from the Port of Los Angeles to their terminal, but has not yet engaged in routes that go from the Port to the Inland Empire due to range concerns. When Terawatt’s site in Rialto, CA comes online, they will be able to confidently venture into the Inland Empire, stop in Rialto for a top-up charge, and return back to the Port for more business, knowing that they will have full range to complete their routes.

Class 8 EV Use Case 2: Slip Seating

Most charging that gets installed today at a fleet’s own location provides a 1:1 truck to charger ratio and is designed for a slower, overnight park and charge. This maximizes the amount of trucks a site can support for its power availability — but it significantly limits the number of charging sessions each charger can accommodate in a day. The result: Fleet operators can only run one shift per truck in a day because they cannot charge the truck up for a second shift in a reasonable amount of time. This limits the economic viability of a truck and the amount of business a fleet can do each day.

By coupling this on-site charging with Terawatt’s off-site charging centers — which are high-powered at 350kW and designed for pull-through or bobtail charging configurations — fleets have the ability to quickly gain an additional full charge in a minimal amount of time and support double-shifted truck operations. Gaining an additional 150-250 miles of capacity for a truck can dramatically change the total cost of ownership (TCO) and mean that you can now do 2x as much business per truck as compared to overnight charging alone.

Class 8 EVs: Taking it One Step Further

We are excited to be working with our partners to maximize the usage of their vehicles today, and find even more ways to open up new business as they scale — ways that include both the charging they may have behind their own fences as well as the network of en-route charging centers that companies like Terawatt are building. This structure gives fleets the flexibility to move trucks around, extend range, slip-seat trucks, and scale effectively. You are no longer bound by what charging you have installed at a given facility or what charging capacity you have at your facility (both for space and power). Charging does not have to be restricted to a long dwell period. Instead, shorter charging sessions scattered throughout the day can be just as cost-effective and ultimately lead to a more robust business case for an EV truck.