Medium-duty eTruck: Pilot Electrified Fleets in Urban and Regional Applications

Sponsor/Project Period: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), 10/01/2020-12/31/2024

PI at Tennessee Tech: Prof. Pingen Chen

Co-PI at Tennessee Tech: Prof. Stephen Canfield

Project objective: The goal of this project is to develop a first-of-its-kind, medium-duty electric truck (MD eTruck) demonstration testbed to be implemented on a wide range of trucking fleets in both Texas (in collaboration with University of Texas at Austin) and Tennessee to evaluate and improve the operational performance of MD (class 4-5) eTrucks in various fleet applications and to facilitate their adoptions of eTrucks. This demonstration will incorporate a diverse group of trucking fleets including large trucking fleets as well as small, family-owned, and financially constrained trucking fleets who have not had eTruck experiences. This project aims to develop suitable MD eTruck applications to help trucking fleets gain necessary eTruck knowledge and experience to make informed decisions on MD eTruck adoptions, and to discover ways to improve the utilization of eTrucks by learning from their real-world, daily operational data. This project will also make use of the testbed to pursue enabling research for electric truck systems. The project will serve as a proof-of-concept implementation to support knowledge and experience gaining, transfer, outreach, and education on MD eTruck technology for various applications. It can complement the DOE VTO’s existing EV data set with detailed eTruck operation in two states and eTruck use data dedicated specifically to the challenges and needs associated with MD trucking fleets for urban and regional applications.

Broad Project Impacts: 1) helping small and large trucking fleet owners, and governmental agencies to accelerate the adoption of MD eTrucks to a broad range of regions that house strong trucking industry outside of California; 2) reducing fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and improving the fuel diversity, environmental quality, and public health through eTruck adoption; 3) coordinating with Drive Electric Tennessee, TennSmart, and clean cities coordinators in Texas and Tennessee in three initiatives including eTruck Ride-and-Drive promotion events, commercial vehicle fleet education, eTruck consumer education, to boost eTruck awareness and help convert local freight fleets into eTrucks; 4) identifying suitable applications for MD eTrucks to help eTruck manufacturers understand the market and increase the eTruck penetration in the market; and 5) facilitating collaborative opportunities among universities, non-profit organizations, electric vehicle manufacturers, charging station suppliers, clean city coalitions, and national labs for future eTruck research and development, demonstration, and training of next-generation EV engineers. EERE funding, along with the cost-share from the team members, will enable this novel and pilot MD eTruck demonstration project to be conducted for generating positive societal impacts.

Project Team: The University of Texas at Austin (overall project lead); Tennessee Technological University (lead in Tennessee); Phoenix Motorcars; East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition; Middle-West Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition; Seven States Power Corporation; Tennessee Trucking Association; Oak Ridge National Laboratory (project advisor).

Project Partners in Tennessee