Just How Many Delivery Vehicles Are There In The US?

(Joseph Gottlieb, CTO, Tuesday March 23, 2021)

To understand the extent to which vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capable vehicles can help to stabilize theUS grid, we need to know how many delivery vehicles are in the US fleet. We all know that COVID-19 has had a positive effect on the delivery industry in the US, as more and more people have shifted to buying products online, from food to clothing to sundries and everything in between. A good example is the US Postal Service (USPS) fleet, which grew to 231,541 vehicles in 2020 (up from 228,940 vehicles in 2019). Amazon’s “last-mile” transportation fleet in December 2019 numbered roughly 30,000 Amazon-branded delivery vehicles and 20,000 branded trailers. And don’t forget Amazon’s order for roughly 100,000 electric Rivian delivery vans. And it isn’t just Rivian that is benefitting from this – nearly every maker of delivery van-size vehicles has seen their sales grow significantly, including the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, the Fiat Chrysler Ram ProMaster, and the Ford Transit vans. Cox Automotive has estimated that nearly 2.6 mission of vehicles like this were purchased for fleet use in 2019.

So the next obvious question is “how much energy storage do these vehicles represent?” Amazon’s van from Rivian is expected to have a 180kWh battery; even using a capacity of 100kWh across 2.6 million vehicles would give a total capacity of 260GWh. According to the EIA, the average US home consumes roughly 29kWh of energy per day, which means that if all of the delivery vans in the US were electrified, they could power nearly 9 million US households for a day with their battery capacity. This is roughly 25%-30% of US daily energy consumption in 2018. Of course, not only the vehicles must be capable of V2G operation – the charging infrastructure must support bi-directional charging as well.

Rhombus has built high-power DC fast charging systems and smart 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.