Electric truck stops will need as much power as small towns

November 15, 2022

Chuck Robinson

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The frenzied push to convert the nation’s diesel tractor fleet to electric power neglects some important factors. Bloomberg pointed out a serious one in an article posted Nov. 14. The headline: “Electric truck stops will need as much power as a small town.”

Many companies have enthusiastically announced plans for embracing electric-powered trucks.

For instance:

These are just a smattering of the news pushed about electric trucks recently.

The Bloomberg report, written by Tom Randall, says that producing enough electricity is not the real problem with converting to a mostly electric tractor fleet. The real problem lies in the electricity needed to fuel up.

“Think of electricity like water flowing through a hose. You could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool with a garden hose if you had a few months, but filling it in a few hours would require a firehose. In the world of electric vehicles, an 18-wheeler is like a swimming pool—and the connections available at today’s highway stops are akin to garden hoses,” Randall wrote.

While Congress allocated billions of dollars to help fund a national system of vehicle chargers in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, most of the focus will be on building out charging networks for passenger vehicles.

The article reports that “electrifying a typical highway gas station will require as much power as a professional sports stadium—and that’s mostly just for electrified passenger vehicles. As more electric trucks hit the road, the projected power needs for a big truck stop by 2035 will equal that of a small town.”

The conversion to electric tractors will be constrained by a grid incapable of providing the power to fuel the trucks, the Bloomberg article concluded. LL

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Chuck Robinson formerly was senior copy editor for a weekly trade publication serving the fresh produce industry. He has served trade publications, horticultural journals and community newspapers for 25 years.