Daimler, Portland utility open “Electric Island” charging site

By Mike Brezonick21 April 2021

Electric Island Charging Station A pair of Freightliner eCascadias, a medium-duty eM2 and a Thomas Built Buses Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley recharge at the new Electric Island charging station in Portland.

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) and electric utility Portland General Electric (PGE) opened to the public a heavy-duty electric truck charging site called “Electric Island.” Electric Island will help accelerate the development, testing and deployment of zero-emissions (tank to wheel) commercial vehicles, like the ones manufactured by DTNA, the company said.

First announced in December 2020, Electric Island opens with eight vehicle charging stations – a majority of which are available for public use – for the charging of electric cars, buses, box vans and heavy-duty trucks. The site is built to immediately provide charging for EVs of all shapes and sizes, and will serve as an innovation center, allowing both PGE and DTNA to study energy management, charger use and performance, and, in the case of DTNA, its own vehicles’ charging performance.

Electric Island is located across the street from DTNA headquarters, less than one mile from I-5, and represents the first location specifically designed for medium- and heavy-duty trucks aligned to the blueprint of the West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative (WCCTCI). WCCTCI’s collaboration between nine electric utilities and two government agencies yielded a strategic plan in 2020 to electrify 1300 miles of I-5 across the three West Coast states to provide publicly available charging for freight and delivery trucks.

Electric Island charging station A charging station at Electric Island. The facility is designed to charge all types of electric vehicles.

The site is designed to keep Electric Island future-proof, allowing the chargers of today to be replaced with new charger technologies of the future, including planned 1 MW-plus chargers, when they are released. Additional plans for future on-site energy storage, solar power generation, and a product and technology showcase building remain under development.

“Oregon is leading the way on the future of electric commercial vehicle production and charging,” said Maria Pope, president and CEO of PGE. “Our partnership with Daimler Trucks North America shows how working together we can accelerate the clean energy transition.”

John O’Leary, president and CEO of DTNA said, “Through collaboration with great partners like Portland General Electric, we are helping to shape the future of carbon-neutral freight transportation, starting right here in the City of Portland. Moreover, the manufacture of reliable, durable and efficient medium- and heavy-duty battery electric trucks will take place just down the road at our Portland Truck Manufacturing Plant, demonstrating that we truly are crafting an Electric Island.

Electric Island is designed to benefit both DTNA’s work in commercial electric vehicle development and PGE’s work in meeting customer charging needs. The site will inform each company’s efforts by studying the future of heavy-duty charging, including:

- Use of vehicle chargers featuring power delivery of up to over 1 MW (more than four times faster than today’s fastest light-duty vehicle chargers), enabling PGE and DTNA to develop best practices for cost-effective future deployments.

- Integration of heavy-duty charging technology into PGE’s Smart Grid, such as vehicle-to-grid technologies, second-life use of Daimler’s battery packs, and onsite energy generation. 

- Testing information technology opportunities like fleet and energy management by captive solutions and services.

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