“Electric Vehicles” Doesn’t Mean Automobiles

(Rick Sander, CEO, Tuesday April 20, 2021)

When most people think about vehicle electrification, they invariably think about electric automobiles such as the Tesla Model S or Model 3. This shouldn’t be surprising – Tesla really kick-started the electric car revolution, not just in the United States but in the world – they shipped nearly half a million vehicles in 2020. However, when looking at ways to improve air quality, medium- and heavy-duty (M/HD) vehicles (GVW of over 10,000 lbs.) are the place to look. These vehicles produce nearly 40% of transportation sector air pollution, even though they make up only 4.6% of the total vehicles. This vehicle class includes medium- and heavy-duty trucks, public transit buses, and school buses; it can also include refuse trucks, fire trucks, drayage tractors (the vehicles that move containers in shipyards), and even medium and heavy construction vehicles.

And “electric vehicles” doesn’t just include things with wheels on them. There are many marine electrification programs that in the works or being deployed. Electric tugboats are on example of this; they have been deployed in a variety of ports including Istanbul Turkey, Auckland New Zealand, and Vietnam. Electrified ferry boats are also taking off, such as Alabama’s Gee’s Bend Ferry, a number of locations in Norway, in Denmark, New York City5, and even the iconic “Maid of the Mist” passenger boats that ply the waters below Niagara Falls. There are even manned electric aircraft in the works! And of course all of these vehicles need reliable, high-power charging systems – some of the larger ferries, tugboats, and construction equipment have battery capacities exceeding 2MWh, so we are talking about very large charging systems!

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.