Electrification – It Isn’t Just for Passenger Vehicles

(Rick Sander, CEO, Tuesday January 5, 2021)

When most people think about vehicle electrification, they invariably think about Tesla electric automobiles such as the Tesla Model S or the Tesla Model 3. This shouldn’t be surprising – Tesla really kickstarted the electric car revolution, not just in the United States but in the world – they shipped nearly half a million vehicles in 2020. But electrification isn’t just limited to consumer automobiles – they apply to commercial vehicles as well, even large medium and heavy duty (M/HD) vehicles (over 10,000 lbs GVW). Many of the same reasons that consumers are switching over to electric vehicles apply to M/HD vehicles as well. Among them (in no particular order) are:

  • Lower energy costs – typically 50% lower than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles
  • Lower maintenance costs – up to 80% lower than M/HD ICE vehicles
  • Better drivability – faster acceleration and faster braking (but with less brake wear!)

Of course, this is offset by higher initial vehicle costs, as well as the cost of the vehicle chargers, but just like passenger cars, these costs are often offset by government grant programs. Further driving the electrification of M/HD vehicles is the huge opportunity to reduce air pollution. This is and advantage that is unique to M/HD vehicles – while they represent roughly 2% of the US vehicle fleet, M/HD vehicles produce nearly 40% of the transportation sector air pollution (one of the big reasons for the government grants). Of course, the reliability of every electric vehicle is inherently tied to the availability of vehicle charging infrastructure, which is one of the reasons that M/HD electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers turn to Rhombus for their vehicle chargers.

Rhombus has built high-power inverters for renewable energy such as “behind the meter” grid energy storage systems for several years. We have applied that expertise to the design of our latest-generation bi-directional EV charging systems (which are designed from the start for the needs of fleet operators) and bi-directional smart inverter systems for microgrids. Rhombus expertise in energy management system (EMS) software is also embedded in our VectorStat EMS controller and software which is embedded in our EV charging systems and smart inverters. Rhombus also excels in the design and testing of high-power electrical equipment to meet the requirements of UL and other certification organizations. We have built hundreds of V2G-capable high-power, high-reliability chargers and bi-directional smart inverters for a variety of different sizes and classes of EVs. Find out how we can help you by contacting us at news@rhombusenergy.com, or by reading our Vehicle to Grid Solution Brief.