The Quebec government has tabled its strategy for electric vehicle charging (stratégie québécoise sur la recharge de véhicules électriques), with a specific section dedicated to medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles.
The government plans to invest $35 million to accelerate the introduction of public charging for commercial transport.
This will be carried out in conjunction with Hydro-Québec’s Electric Circuit and will enable “rapid public charging for heavy and suburban transport along strategic axes, with priority given to regional and inter-regional transport,” according to environment ministry (Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques or MELCC) spokesman Frédéric Fournier.
The exact number of charging stations that will enable electric trucks to extend their range without having to return to their terminals has yet to be determined, but Quebec City intends to deploy them along major highways.
“Rest areas, logistics hubs and industrial zones will be prime locations,” said the MELCCFP spokesperson in an exchange with sister publication Transport Routier. The space required to park these trucks will be taken into account.
Details remain to be determined, not least because the government’s strategy aims to tie in with charging networks in neighboring jurisdictions, whether Canadian provinces or American states.
“It is important that discussions be held with neighboring jurisdictions to enable the establishment of cross-border charging corridors, thereby maximizing the use of this costly infrastructure,” says Quebec, which also intends to initiate discussions with its partners “with a view to establishing a charging corridor for heavy-duty transportation.”
Distance criteria between truck charging stations have already been determined by the Transportation and Air Quality Steering Committee of the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers.
The charging stations to be deployed here will be BRCCs (direct current charging stations), which use three-phase current, or ultra-fast charging stations.
Conventional Level 2 charging stations would be ill-suited to trucking because this technology “implies charging times that often do not meet the needs of transporters”, the strategy states.
300 km of range
According to Quebec, these Level 2 chargers can take up to 51 hours to restore 300 km of range to a heavy truck, while a BRCC (180 or 350 kW) can do it in between one and 14 hours. An ultra-rapid terminal achieves this in around 22 minutes.
In a way, these terminals are necessary to solve the “chicken or the egg” problem of public infrastructure.
“There are currently very few medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles on the road, and even fewer high-power charging points to meet their needs, which is an obstacle to the electrification of these vehicles,” says the Quebec strategy for electric vehicle charging.
Hydrogen fuel cell technology
Quebec also believes that hydrogen fuel cell technology is likely to be more popular in the commercial vehicle sector than in the light vehicle sector, and that this could have an impact on the total number of battery electric truck charging stations deployed in the province.
“For the time being, it is difficult to predict the respective place that these two technologies will occupy in heavy-duty transportation, which is why the deployment of ultra-fast charging stations will be evolutionary, adapting to needs,” the strategy says.
$24 million to help fleets
In addition to the $35 million for public charging stations, $24 million will be allocated over the next five years for new financial assistance for large-scale electrification projects to support, in particular, the electrification of heavy transport and vehicle fleets.
“These financial incentives for Level 2 charging stations and BRCCs will enable operators of large vehicle fleets to carry out integrated electrification projects that cover the entire process,” the strategy states.
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