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EPRI, CALSTART awarded $13M to develop high-power freight-charging corridor network in California; RHETTA

The California Energy Commission (CEC) awarded $13 million to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and CALSTART to jump start California’s high-power charging infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The two organizations will lead a first-of-its-kind collaboration to launch the country’s first zero-emission, freight-charging corridor network.

The multi-phase project, Research Hub for Electric Technologies in Truck Applications (RHETTA) (GFO-20-306), will commence with a community-first engagement framework to ensure that pollution-impacted communities, low-income communities, and tribal communities are involved in creating and guiding the initiative.

Phase one of the RHETTA project will begin this month, with the goal of developing, testing, and implementing high-power electric vehicle (EV) chargers for trucks near Southern California’s two ports. The project will work toward developing high-power chargers that can meet the following performance targets:

  • Capable of providing 100 miles of range for a HD BEV drayage truck in less than 10 minutes;

  • Uses only open standards for connectors and communications to increase interoperability across different vehicles and control systems;

  • Securely controllable from a cloud-based network and can be integrated with a local energy management system;

  • High efficiency from input to delivery to vehicle (≥97% at full load);

  • Modular design that can be scaled up with future BEV truck deployment; and

  • Delivered at a total cost below 500 $/kW.

Each pilot site will have two charging units that will serve as demonstrations sites to test and validate their use and impact. The high-power charging support extending the range of electric trucks and increase their market penetration. The first phase of the project runs through 2025.

Other key elements include the creation of:

  • An online freight heatmap outlining freight hubs, travel patterns along major freight corridors, truck stops, and locations for truck charging in a web-accessible tool;

  • Two high-power charging demonstration sites—one near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and one in the Inland Empire—to provide technology and operational data; and

  • A plan for a statewide charging corridor network, including a workforce development strategy and templates for key freight corridors.

This collaborative effort engages stakeholders representing fleets, ports, planning agencies, community-based organizations, utilities, academia, OEMs, infrastructure developers, and solution providers.

Project partners include: Southern California Edison; Southern California Association of Governments; GRID Alternatives; Cambridge Systematics, Inc.; Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc.; Momentum; ORBCOMM, Inc.; GNA; Paul International; MMX, LLC; and TravelCenters of America, LLC, as well as labs and universities including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and University of California, Riverside.


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