Megawatt charging: the future of electric truck and bus power

Heavy vehicles demand significant amounts of power, and the Megawatt Charging System (MCS) holds the key. By Megan Lampinen

The commercial vehicle industry faces increasing pressure to clean up its footprint. This sector transports more people and goods on a daily basis than passenger cars, and its environmental impact is significant. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), heavy- and medium-duty trucks produced 1.8 GT of CO2 in 2020. Over the past few years, however, the sector has seen growing interest in battery electric vehicles (EVs).

Special report: Ultra-fast electric vehicle charging

IEA figures show that global registrations of electric buses increased 40% year-on-year in 2021, even though the overall bus market remained flat. At the same time, global sales of electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks more than doubled, also against the backdrop of a stagnant total market. Despite this growth, market penetration of electric commercial vehicles remains low. In 2021, electric buses accounted for just 4% of the total bus fleet, while electric heavy trucks made up a mere 0.1% of the heavy-duty fleet. Further growth will hinge on many factors, including charging infrastructure.

So far, the bulk of heavy vehicle charging for this segment has taken place overnight at depots, but that alone won’t facilitate an electric transport ecosystem. In its ‘Global EV Outlook 2022: Trends in electric heavy-duty vehicles’, the IEA notes that “very fast charging on highways will be needed to provide flexibility and autonomy for regional and long-haul electric trucks.” What does that charging look like, and who will provide it? 

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