While this is clearly a hypothetical situation, if we are to decarbonize all the cars and trucks in America we would need to use about 40% of current total electricity generation just for this endeavor. Most states would need to add on 40%-60% more generation each on top of the present day power grid load in order to handle the added workload.
ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee released a report on understanding the needed infrastructure for a completely electrified U.S. vehicle fleet. The demands created, power generation needs, charger construction and installation costs, and the amount of space needed for the vehicles to park and wait for charging were included in the report.
We’re going to need a few more gerbils on the wheels to power the American Trucking fleet
Alan Adler, FreightWaves’ expert in all things automotive, penned an article on the report and its findings. And I have to concur with them, we need a lot more of those power plants to feed the hungry power hogs the world wants to haul us our goods around with.
While I won’t be going into all the environmental, health, and human rights issues that will come from all the mining and processing of all the rare earth metals needed to produce all the batteries and other components needed, all I can say it would be quite a few decades before we could complete the retrofit.
While battery-operated trucks would be good in a short range, inner-city environment, making the whole fleet battery-powered would not be feasible on a number of issues. Alternative fuels like Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and hydrogen make more sense in the longer freight lanes.
We would definitely need a bigger parking lot
There’s a 11 to 1 deficit in truck parking in the United States currently. Chargers would need to occupy more spaces than we have parking spots now and cost over $115,000 to install each.
ATRI estimates a $35 billion dollar investment in chargers alone, not to mention the costs associated with building a bigger parking lot. With Congress mulling over the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, we got to wonder if any monies in those bills are set aside for this issue.
I would hate to see tax dollars alone be used to pay for this challenge. My personal opinion is that if companies want us to use electric vehicles, they should have to build out a charger network themselves in the fashion Tesla built out one for their cars.