Charging Infrastructure Needs for Electrification of Freight Delivery Vehicles

Victor Walker, Amy Moore, Alicia Birky

Research output: NRELManagement


Widespread truck electrification has the potential to significantly reduce petroleum consumption and cost for the trucking industry. Trucks moving freight account for 25% of all fuel consumed by U.S. transportation, [1]and fuel accounts for 20% of operation costs for freight companies. [2] Electrification would create many benefits for reducing overall energy costs but would require a large investment in infrastructure to support electrification by either public or private parties. This project investigates the foundations of how to approach this problem and identifies several of the key elements which need to be studied to help support this issue. The freight industry is complex and there are numerous business models that would require varying degrees of charging infrastructure and/or changes to their operations to enable electrification, especially with limited-range vehicles. Although it is true that about 75% of trucks are used primarily for trips of less than 200 miles, [3] drivers of Class 7/8 trucks often chain trips together, such that their overall distance traveled before returning to a central location is much longer than the expected range of electric trucks.The variety and complexity of operations in the freight trucking industry make it challenging to discern where electric trucks are beneficial, what kind of charging infrastructure is needed for electrification to be feasible, and who bears the costs and benefits of charging infrastructure investment. Charging infrastructure costs must be weighed against the cost of operational changes, such as routing and dispatching changes. Electric truck operations also must be conducted within the confines of regulation, including the maximum allowable time driver can continuously operate their trucks. The relatively long length of charging time, even with high-power chargers, may be highly problematic for trucking companies who strive to maximize miles driven within regulated shift lengths. New tools are needed to help trucking companies manage complex decisions surrounding electrification and charging infrastructure, which is the focus of this effort.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

See the Vehicle Technologies Office Energy Efficient Mobility Systems 2019 Annual Progress Report at

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/MP-5400-78527


  • charging infrastructure
  • class 7/8 electric trucks
  • freight transport
  • truck electrification


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