Penske Opens Fast-Charging Stations for Electric Commercial Trucks in California

The company believes these are the first of its kind in America, and they're just getting started.

Kunden für Testflotte in den USA: Penske Truck Leasing und NFI Industries testen ab Ende 2018 erste elektrische Freightliner-ModelleCustomers for test fleet in the US: Penske Truck Leasing and NFI Industries starting to test the first fully electric Fre
Daimler AG – Global Communicat—Daimler AG

Electric cars aren't the only electric vehicles that need faster charging. Penske Truck Leasing, an arm of the vast Penske motorsports and business empire, has installed 14 DC fast-charging stations for electric commercial trucks at four of its facilities in Southern California. The company believes these are the first operational fast-charging stations in the United States designed specifically for commercial trucks.

DC fast-charging stations connect directly to a vehicle's battery pack, which is what makes them faster than Level 2 AC stations. While grid electricity is AC, the batteries use DC current. The need to convert from AC to DC makes Level 2 AC stations inherently slower than their DC fast-charging counterparts. DC fast-charging stations for electric passenger cars, such as Tesla's Supercharger stations, are becoming more common, although they still lag behind Level 2 AC stations.

Penske installed its first commercial-truck fast-charging stations in San Diego, Chino, Anaheim, and La Mirada, California. Each station can charge at a rate of 50 kilowatts to 150 kW, according to Penske. The company didn't quote a specific charging time, but said stations could recharge a Class 8 tractor in less than half a shift. Penske plans to add at least six more stations in the near future.

The fast-charging stations will support Penske's small fleet of electric trucks. The company recently took delivery of 10 Freightliner eCascadia Class 8 tractors, 10 Freightliner eM2 medium-duty box trucks, and will soon get a batch of smaller Fuso eCanter delivery trucks. All three models are manufactured by Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler's commercial-truck division. Many other companies have discussed building electric trucks, but Daimler is actually putting them in customer's hands, albeit on a small scale.