WattEV Inc. is set to receive a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to build the state’s first solar-powered truck stop dedicated to heavy-duty electric trucks. Groundbreaking for the project is expected in late October. The announcement was made at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo 2021 in Long Beach. WattEV, based in El Segundo, Calif., said the CEC is anticipated to approve the grant on Sept. 8 at its monthly business meeting.
“Our successful private-equity seed funding, in addition to the grant awarded for this project, are important milestones in our effort to deploy 12,000 electric heavy-duty trucks on the road by 2030,” said Salim Youssefzadeh, CEO of WattEV.
Partners joining WattEV and the CEC on the Bakersfield electric truck stop project include the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, the Central California Asthma Collaborative, Greenlots and Power Electronics. In addition to the Bakersfield project, WattEV says it is in the planning stages for similar projects in San Bernardino and Gardena in Southern California. Both of these electric truck stops will serve the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach and the warehouses fed by goods coming through the ports.
To enable these projects and support further expansion, WattEV has raised $6 million in private equity seed funding led by Canon Equity. WattEV also has secured purchase incentive vouchers through the California Air Resources Board’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP), initially for six VNR Electric Class 8 trucks from Volvo Group, and has applied for 24 more electric truck HVIP vouchers.
WattEV says it plans to run its own fleet of 30 heavy-duty electric trucks by the end of 2022 to deploy under contract with several Southern California fleet customers.
The first fleet partnership is with Total Transportation Services, Inc. (TTSI), one of the leading freight transporters making the transition to EV trucks serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and with a presence in Bakersfield. TTSI will be offering electric transport freight services to shippers in Southern California on routes served by WattEV’s platform.
WattEV says it is also developing an advanced software platform – trucks-as-a-service (TaaS) – designed specifically for the use of electric trucks within its network of charging stations on designated routes. The TaaS platform will offer an all-inclusive, charge-per-mile formula that will enable a transporter to use an electric truck to move goods normally handled with diesel trucks on the routes selected by shippers committed to clean air, the company says.