Find Posts By Topic

City Light Commissions Study to Explore Impacts of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Electrification

School shuttles, delivery vans, recycling trucks, and public transit buses are the next wave of electric vehicles to be hitting our roads. Reduced costs, ambitious policies, and advances in technology are driving forces behind the electrification of medium-and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDVs). Their adoption is expected to increase dramatically over the next fifteen years.

Recognizing this, Seattle City Light commissioned a study, “Powering Seattle Fleets,” from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). The study explores the impacts of MHDV electrification in the Puget Sound region.

The results of the study will help us shape our electrification strategy to ensure adequate systems and grid capacity to meet their growing energy requirements. Here are some of the key findings and recommendations from ICCT that we’ll be using to craft our electrification future in this important segment.

Focus on demand

Creating our energy future means understanding users. What are their current needs? What will they be in the future? With local fleets in our service area already making the transition to battery-electric, City Light can tap into their existing knowledge and transition plans. This will help us identify key areas where we think there will be a higher concentration of MHDV adoption and the need for charging infrastructure.

Early indicators and traffic patterns suggest that there will be a greater need in the industrial areas of South Seattle. This area is home to a large network of distribution centers, warehouses, and other facilities involved in freight activity. While most charging is expected to happen at business locations, the need for additional public charging throughout our service area should be taken into consideration.

Identify infrastructure improvements

King County Metro Battery Electric Bus

Planning for the increased demands of MDHV includes addressing any needs for grid infrastructure upgrades and finding short- and long-term solutions. Substations and the distribution network serving the identified area in South Seattle will face growing energy demands and are likely to require the largest investments in capacity upgrades. Further assessment of the grid is required as City Light determines electrification goals and evaluates public and depot charging needs.

Tap into resources

City Light recognizes the potential positive impacts that MHDV electrification will have on many overburdened communities in our service area. Including impacted communities in the decision-making process is essential to shaping long-term energy projects. Obtaining input from community members, businesses, and other stakeholders maximizes our ability to meet the new challenges of electrification.

Seattle, as a global leader in innovation, is poised to be at the forefront of the transition from fossil fuels to electric MDHVs. City Light plans to utilize the ICCT study’s finding to help shape our energy future.