Volvo LIGHTS Helps Expand Public Charging Stations

By Mike Brezonick29 October 2020

Volvo Trucks North America announced what it called “an important milestone” in the path to the wide-scale electrification of medium- and heavy-duty trucks through an expansion of public charging options for fleet operators.

Working in collaboration with its Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) project partners — CALSTART, Trillium, Greenlots and other industry organizations — Volvo Trucks has helped facilitate the modification of California utility rules to give private entities the ability to sell electricity as a motor fuel at publicly accessible charging stations for medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles (EVs).

Prior to this modification, California utilities were guided by a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) decision established in 2010 that exempted light-duty vehicle charging station providers from being regulated as a utility but did not explicitly exempt medium- and heavy-duty charging station providers. Volvo LIGHTS partners filed a motion in July that sought to clarify the CPUC’s position.

Upon review of the motion, the CPUC issued a decision extending that exemption to medium- and heavy-duty charging station providers and directed Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas & Electric to modify their respective Electric Rule 18 tariffs to allow this resale of electricity as a motor fuel for EVs. The decision also applies to charging service providers for off-road EVs or off-road electric equipment. San Diego Gas & Electric’s Electric Rule 18 already provided a clear exemption and did not require modification.

“CALSTART brought together a group of industry stakeholders to modify CPUC rules so that California can meet our ambitious goals and attract the needed infrastructure investments for medium-and heavy-duty electrification,” said Bill Van Amburg, executive vice president of CALSTART. “For California to achieve its ambitious zero-emission truck and bus deployment targets, the state will need to rapidly increase charging infrastructure, and heavy-duty trucks will need both innovative depot and public charging stations. Early infrastructure development and public investments in California were primarily focused on light-duty EVs.”

For the past two years, Volvo Trucks has been collaborating with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) and 13 other organizations on the Volvo LIGHTS project to develop a blueprint to successfully introduce battery-electric Class 8 trucks and equipment into the market at scale. The project, taking place in Southern California, is demonstrating a range of strategies to provide flexible and cost-effective charging options to commercial fleet operators. This includes providing increased access to charging stations to allow customers to extend their daily routes.

To learn more about the Volvo LIGHTS project, visit www.lightsproject.com.

 

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