WattEV gets funding for EV Truck-as-a-Service fleet

By Chad Elmore14 July 2022

Company to use grant money for electric Class 8 trucks

charging WattEV broke ground on what it called the nation’s first electric truck charging station on December 16, 2021, in Bakersfield, Calif. The groundbreaking ceremony was held at the location of the truck stop, on Highway 65 just north of Meadows Field Airport. The 110 acre truck stop was expected to feature a solar micro-grid with battery storage, plus regular power from PG&E. (Illustration: WattEV)

Truck-as-a-Service (TaaS) fleet operator and charging infrastructure developer WattEV announced the award of grants totaling about $3 million from two Southern California government agencies.

WattEV said it will use funding from the “Last-Mile Freight Program” of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) toward the purchase of 20 of its initial fleet of 50 Volvo VNR Electric Class 8 heavy-duty trucks. This move is expected to help it accelerate the deployment of emission-free freight-hauling in the six Southern California counties that make up SCAG’s region.

“The awards from SCAG and South Coast AQMD demonstrate public vision and leadership in transforming freight into zero emissions,” said Salim Youssefzadeh, chief executive officer of WattEV. “We’re honored to be a recipient of these funds and to deploy these units in early 2023.”

WattEV said it plans to use the 20 trucks partially funded by SCAG in its Truck-as-a-Service program for zero-emission freight deliveries starting in early 2023. The program is aimed at shippers and carriers operating in the Southern California region within WattEV’s charging network.

The company’s fleet of battery-electric trucks is also expected to serve shippers with sustainability mandates, starting with those whose base of operations are in Southern California. The WattEV fleet is also expected to help affected shippers comply with Southern California’s new Warehouse Actions and Investments to Reduce Emissions (WAIRE) program.

Zero-emission trucks used in the TaaS program will be available for individual drivers or small fleets as part of a full package service that includes use of the truck, charging and maintenance. The TaaS service reportedly provides value for owner-operators by removing the need for an initial investment in a new fleet, one of the highest barriers to entry in the zero emission transportation market.

Drivers will have new trucks at their disposal coupled with a mobile app. The app enables drivers to plan the day ahead, receive route optimization directions, manage the state of battery charge, plus freight brokerage and data collection – thus removing the burdens and unknowns from zero-emission transport. The trucks can be picked up at any of WattEV’s expanding network of charging depots.

“Many of our initial customers are brand-name shippers that require transport to and from their facilities in Southern California,” said Paul Boehmer, vice president of Sales at WattEV. “Our unique TaaS offering provides the flexibility and ease operators are looking for, while also providing shippers a simple and fast way to meet their sustainability goals without the upfront costs. As we increase our fleet and infrastructure network, we can go beyond Southern California to facilitate the sustainable transport of goods up to Sacramento and across major U.S. freight corridors.”

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