Electric Charging Infrastructure
The Florida Department of Transportation hosted an Electric Vehicle Workshop Oct. 21 in which multiple stakeholders discussed private heavy-duty fleets, long-haul trucks, construction vehicles, and other vehicles that would place charging demands on the state’s highway system. Charging while driving with in-road wireless charging using inductive loop technology would require electric vehicles (EVs) to have on-board equipment for this purpose, but is on the DOT’s radar now. Extreme Fast Charging (XFC) for heavy-duty vehicles, those requiring >150kW support, will get their own dedicated charging network under the plans being considered.
Trucks traveling to and from work sites would hardly benefit from this technology, but something a haul truck driver might benefit from, if he or she has not planned ahead, is having a pull-off area where the construction vehicle can recharge before traveling back to the plant. Track with me here. While no paving foreman wants to see a haul truck driver stop along the route for any reason, if electric haul trucks join the fleet, there could be a propensity for drivers to forget proper charging protocol.
The American Trucking Association’s Law Enforcement Advisory Board’s (LEAB) mission is to strengthen relationships between the trucking industry and law enforcement organizations across the country. To that end, safety, education and compliance take precedent when LEAB identifies and prioritizes industry issues. For example, LEAB invests resources and combined member expertise to address the industry need to increase truck parking capacity and ensure driver safety at rest stops.
Fred Fakkema, vice president of safety and compliance at Zonar and vice chair of LEAB added, “In addition to LEAB’s existing efforts to increase awareness of this safety issue, infrastructure investments are being made at the Federal level in the proposed Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act. We aim to help prioritize investments and ensure that they don’t supersede or compete with the current dire needs of the industry. However, investments in EV charging stations for cars and trucks are also highlighted in proposed infrastructure investments and are certainly a need as fleets adopt more electric vehicles. As we consider improvements to infrastructure, Federal legislation should aim to find dual use for rest stops, with more EV charging stations for commercial vehicles at these pull off areas. This will not only improve safety on the roads by allowing truck drivers to take necessary rest stops to avoid driver fatigue, but it will also support EV infrastructure and the innovations/advancement in trucking technology.”