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Examining the challenges and opportunities of high power truck charging

Electric trucks are set to dominate the e-mobility market within the next two decades: According to current estimations, by 2040, 85% of new trucks sold in Europe, the U.S. and China will be zero emission, with electric models making up most of this number.

However, to hit these targets, we must first build the infrastructure to support a growing electric truck market. Trucks use bigger batteries and require shorter charging sessions than passenger EVs, which means charging infrastructure needs to offer more power. How can we deliver enough power to charge the electric truck evolution?

Taking the lead as an e-mobility innovator

Kempower team has embraced this challenge and lately, we have invested heavily on research and developing cutting-edge charging technology suitable for heavy-duty vehicles. We have revealed some exciting business opportunities associated with electric truck charging. In the future, long-haul transportation operations using electric trucks will be more economical than diesel trucks. Early adopters of decarbonization solutions in mobility will hold a clear advantage in terms of both market share and profitability in the coming years. We are building solutions to accelerate this transition and enable business owners to unlock these economic benefits.

Our team has identified three main charging-related obstacles on the road to an electric truck transition: limited space at charging sites, power constraints, and complicated operations. Crucially, we have also developed the solutions to these problems. This article will demonstrate how these challenges can be overcome, and why investing in high power truck charging is a savvy business decision for any CPO.

Challenge 1: Minimal space for new infrastructure at charging sites

Prime truck charging locations, such as retail parks or rest steps, were not built with truck charging in mind, so often have limited space to fit in additional charging for trucks. But replacing parking spaces with charging stations leads to direct profit losses. Instead of building expensive new sites, operators should be empowered to adapt existing sites to meet the needs of new commercial vehicles customers.

Kempower chargers are built to optimize space. For smaller sites, the Kempower Control Unit is a great choice: the unit is very small and is ideal for overhead charging in cases with very limited space. For sites with slightly more space, the Kempower Satellite offers a footprint similar to a laptop keyboard. With a charging cable on each side, these chargers can easily be placed between two parked trucks, meaning minimal space is taken up, and chargers don’t interfere with truck maneuvering. 

Challenge 2: Power constraints

Trucks need more power than passenger EVs due to having bigger batteries and encountering time-sensitive charging scenarios. However, grid limitations are common, slow to be updated, and largely out of business owners’ control. With power such a crucial element of successful truck charging, charging manufacturers need to address the power constraint problem from two angles: delivering more power and increasing utilization. 

Grid limitations and cost efficiency make power utilization important in all truck charging scenarios. Kempower delivers dynamic charging with all chargers, which means power is distributed according to need. The intelligent distribution system optimizes charging curves and minimizes charging times for customers. By enabling lower power grid connections and cutting idle power wastage, it is also highly cost-efficient for CPOs. 

In certain truck charging scenarios, such as on-the-move and destination charging, short bursts of high power are needed. To serve such use cases, Kempower is developing its Megawatt Charging System (MCS) to deliver powers above 1 MW. Based on the latest Kempower technology, installing Kempower’s MCS is simple: Customers can  connect the new MCS dispenser to two Kempower 600kW power units to instantly unlock powers above 1MW. We are rolling out MCS this year, so operators can be ready for the upcoming electric truck boom.

Challenge 3: Complicated operations

As the commercial vehicle segment expands to include more fleets of heavy-duty vehicles, coordinating charging solutions to serve every use case will become more challenging. Kempower ChargEye, our cloud-based charging management software for EV chargers, makes e-truck management simple and profitable.

A lot of commercial trucks usually travel the same routes. Kempower ChargEye can identify route patterns and plans charging sessions accordingly, to optimize power distribution and ensure trucks receive enough power. Meanwhile, by distributing charging load evenly over time, or by identifying the best times to charge according to tariffs, it minimizes OPEX for operators.

Kempower ChargEye is also compatible with existing IT systems and supports chargers from different equipment manufacturers, making investing in a sophisticated backend a no-brainer for operators wanting to reap the benefits of a growing truck market.

A bright future for the electric truck market

As we are expecting the electric truck charging market to grow heavily in the near future, we are investing a lot to R&D.One example of ongoing research programs is  Kempower’s Heavy Electric Traffic Ecosystem program, funded by Business Finland. Supported by research institutes, and powered by partner companies testing out new solutions, the program leverages the expertise to research and develop cutting-edge charging technology suitable for heavy-duty vehicles.By identifying the key challenges in the road toward high power truck charging, Kempower is working alongside change-makers to develop the solutions. This enables operators to grasp the business opportunities accompanying the growing electric truck market. Building on the foundations laid by research innovative charging solutions developed with our partners, CPOs are set to reap the financial and environmental benefits of the electric truck evolution.

Written by

Tomi Ristimäki

Kempower CEO