Daimler Truck, BlackRock and NextEra Energy’s $650M joint venture in electric infrastructure

Daimler Truck North America (DTNA), BlackRock Renewable Power, and NextEra Energy Resources intend to invest $650 million in a joint venture to construct charging infrastructure for electric and hydrogen fuel cell medium- and heavy-duty trucks, removing a barrier to wider adoption, prnewswire.com writes.

The new charging stations and hydrogen filling stations are aimed at commercial trucking, which has been neglected in the renewable energy transition, with public charging focusing on automobiles and light trucks, which take less energy and time to recharge.

The initial phase of development on a network of charging stations on major freight routes throughout the East and West coasts, as well as in Texas, is planned to begin in 2023. The idea is to use existing infrastructure and facilities while also developing new greenfield areas.

It was unclear if this included travel plazas and truck stops, which truck stop trade group NATSO and fuel marketer trade group SIGMA are fighting for to be the principal locations for EV charging under the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The organizations are attempting to get funds in order to construct charging stations in existing areas.

Last April, DTNA created an electric island for truck charging near company headquarters in Portland, Oregon, in collaboration with Portland General Electric. Later this year, the market-leading truck maker will begin constructing Class 8 Freightliner eCascadia and Class 6 eM2 vehicles in Portland.

“Our collaborative investment will serve as a catalyst to make a carbon-neutral trucking sector a reality,” DTNA president and CEO John O’Leary said in a news statement on Monday.

Since early 2019, DTNA has been performing demonstrations in Southern California, lending trucks to a range of carriers and other clients for testing, amassing more than 1 million miles of real-world driving in port drayage, pickup and delivery, and regional carry.

Daimler and its biggest competitors, Volvo and Traton, are investing $593 million to develop and manage 1,700 commercial vehicle charging stations in Europe by 2027.

With more than $9.5 billion invested in more than 350 wind and solar projects, as well as electric vehicle charging infrastructure and battery energy storage systems across 15 countries on five continents, BlackRock’s Renewable Power group invests globally across the spectrum of renewable power and energy transition supporting infrastructure.

Based on a memorandum of understanding, the prospective joint venture would design, build, install, and maintain a statewide, high-performance charging network for medium- and heavy-duty battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars. The first $650 million payment would be split evenly among the three parties.

NextEra Energy Resources is the world’s biggest producer of wind and solar energy. NextEra will offer its eIQ Mobility software platform, which calculates the value and timeliness of fleet conversions, as well as its decarbonization-as-a-service platform, which assists fleets in transitioning to zero-emission electric and hydrogen cars.