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5 min read

White House hosts freight and energy: collaboration and capacity are the way forward

5 min read

White House hosts freight and energy: collaboration and capacity are the way forward

Einride’s General Manager Energy & Charging Infrastructure, David Hallgren, shares highlights from his participation at the White House roundtable discussion on April 24 connected to JOET’s national zero-emission freight corridors.

National strategies with industry-specific approaches are needed to accelerate the transition to clean energy and the adoption of more efficient technologies, like electric transportation. With industry-level engagement and Federal support, the United States can dig into the specifics of how we will achieve the transition, what the priorities are, and what the timing should be for each activity needed for the greatest and fastest impact.

The National Zero-Emission Freight Corridor strategy launched by the United States Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (JOET) earlier this year is one strong step in the right direction. The plan was followed by the Roundtable on Zero-Emission Freight Infrastructure hosted by the White House last week, where key industry players, including Einride, were invited to a full day of discussions organized by the White House Climate Policy Office in partnership with the JOET and the Department of Energy with support from the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.

With the freight lens, electrification strategies have a better chance of going where the shipper demand is and fostering dialogues and investments that will benefit both those moving goods and their consumers. Shippers will switch to electric freight where the conditions are favorable. With half of all goods in the US moving within the current range of heavy-duty batteries, there is a strong business case for these constant and predictable flows that could be electrified today.

It is crystal clear that collaboration between industry stakeholders is essential. We need to come together to solve common roadblocks. Bringing the National Zero Emission Freight Corridor into existence requires matching shipping demand with energy availability. It requires working together at the Federal and State levels and in partnership with the private sector.

You can’t disconnect transportation and energy. As the energy grid becomes increasingly strained due to growing demand, these subjects and industries grow even more dependent on each other. In a way, companies like Einride, advocating for more intelligent movement, are part of the problem as we help push society forward and unlock the demand, but we’re also part of the solution.

I see many similarities between the US government’s corridor approach to this transition and Einride’s own freight mobility strategy: the focus needs to be first on regions that are easier to electrify, coupled with a clear and solid expansion plan. At scale is where the industry really reaps the benefits of cleaner and more efficient transportation.

Looking at the transition from an ecosystem perspective is another key element – as we do with our freight capacity as a service offering, which includes strategically placed charging infrastructure, electric and autonomous vehicles and an intelligent platform that plans routes, charging schedules, increases fill rates and energy efficiency.

Einride’s solution exists already today to support the transition and bring much-needed efficiency to transportation. When applied to electric fleets, Einride’s AI-based software sees a 20% increase in energy efficiency and a 20% reduction in the number of trucks in operation through an increase in asset utilization. This is just a fraction of what our digital capabilities can give shipper companies. We’re talking about a tremendous impact to improve efficiencies in a highly fragmented and inefficient industry with historically low margins.

Freight mobility with responsive assets

Energy capacity is more than just building smartcharger stations or sourcing the grid with renewables. It’s also about using resources efficiently. Our fully connected ecosystem knows precisely when, where, and for how long each vehicle should charge to complete its deliveries and improve battery life. It can also determine that charging should take place during off-peak hours with the additional help of battery energy storage systems (BESS).

With Einride’s approach, every component is integrated into an intelligent ecosystem, with each working as a responsive asset in constant dialogue. Einride builds capacity in a region to balance the movement of goods and usage of energy. We can do this with charging stations of varying sizes. After all, not every charging location requires +10 MWh and capacity for 200 trucks. Some regions would be better served with more locations of charging sites with 10 dispensers and 4 mwh. Einride has the data and the flexibility to work with utilities to plan for charging sites that work for both shippers and utility build outs.

When it comes to building infrastructure, chargers need to be available where there is demand; that is, where vehicles will most likely stop and recharge. It’s a different logic from off-highway gas stations. Operating electric fleets is a complex thing, made simple by our intelligent freight platform Einride Saga and its robust freight data and AI-based models.

There’s no other company with such granular knowledge of actual freight and energy demand. This means Einride can pinpoint which are the strategic locations that should receive new infrastructure to meet shippers needs. We also offer precise CO2e savings numbers with an accredited methodology based on vehicle, route and grid to be added to sustainability reports, instead of the usual factory specs provided by OEMs.

With this know-how, we have the facts and capabilities to fast track regions to electric road freight with the roll out of charging infrastructure and electric heavy-duty trucks, making the Federal corridor strategy a reality sooner. Still, a lot of capital needs to be deployed to fix transportation’s many bottlenecks. We can make sure investments are used consciously and reach the strategic regions to allow an effective and continuous deployment of electric freight at scale.

David Hallgren

GM Energy and Charging Infrastructure at Einride

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