Flicking the switch on truck charging

January 20, 2022

Why connecting truck charging stations to the electricity grid is technically and economically feasible.

Truck makers are now focusing on bringing battery-powered trucks to the mass market for all vehicle segments, and including long-haul starting from 2024. For this, a network of public high-power and overnight charging points needs to be rolled out across Europe no later than 2025.

Transport & Environment commissioned RE-xpertise and ef.Ruhr to examine the techno-economic feasibility of charging stations for long-haul trucks and their connection to the electricity grid. The technical study evaluates possible charging and grid connection configurations for three scenarios: a high- and a low-traffic motorway station, as well as a logistics hub.

The policy briefing summarises the findings of the technical study and provides concrete recommendations for EU and national policy-makers to plan the roll-out of truck charging infrastructure in a cost-effective manner and streamline the planning and permitting process.

The findings show that high-power truck charging is technically and economically feasible and would not pose any fundamental challenges with respect to the grid connection Depending on the scenario, the grid connection will account for just 10% of the total infrastructure costs; the largest part, at 90%, goes towards the capital investment and operation of the local charging station equipment. This equates to a grid connection costing in these scenarios only 0.2 – 0.9 euro cents per kilowatt hour of charged electricity.

As the first series production of long-haul BETs is expected for 2024, an initial network of high-power charging stations will need to be installed no later than 2025 as proposed by the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR).

The planning, permitting and procurement procedures need to be streamlined, any administrative obstacles removed and development times shortened. As part of AFIR, the so-called National Policy Frameworks should require Member States to ensure that obtaining the final permit and building authorisation for a publicly accessible charging station does not take longer than six months from the date of the initial permitting request by the company.

Due to the long development times, transmission and distribution grid operators need to incorporate truck charging infrastructure early in their grid extension planning. Public authorities should coordinate the deployment of charging infrastructure to ensure that it is deployed in an efficient and integrated manner. Following best practices in Germany and in collaboration with grid operators, public authorities should map appropriate locations for site development with sufficient grid capacity and make this information publicly available.

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