Originally appeared in Fleet Owner

Development of zero-emission trucks is a good start, but if the industry and government are committed to sustainability, we need to shift the focus from the trucks themselves to charging infrastructure.

There have been all kinds of hype surrounding electric vehicles, and many manufacturers—both traditional truck makers and new tech startups—have announced that they already are, or soon will be, in serial production of electric vehicles.

This means more EVs will be available for fleets to purchase, but it does not address the other part of EV deployment—getting them charged.

Charging an EV is not as simple as plugging it into an existing electrical outlet at your depot. Especially as you scale up the number of EVs you have in your fleet, you will need to install charging infrastructure. It is very unlikely that your site has enough electric power to charge more than a few trucks, even if you are charging them sequentially.

See also: Procedures and tips for EV infrastructure development

Unfortunately, adding power to your site is not simply a matter of flipping a switch. It involves assessing the current power available at your location, finding out how much additional power you need, and then determining what elements of charging infrastructure will need to be added to make it easy for you to charge all the EVs you have cost-effectively.

Estimates are that it can take 24 months or more to get the charging infrastructure in place that allows fleets to charge at their depots. That does not address any sort of network of charging stations across the country that would allow trucks to charge when they are away from their home depots.

See also: Planning electrification could take fleets years, report finds

If the government and the industry are committed to a cleaner transportation future, we need to shift the focus from the trucks to the charging infrastructure and the grid’s readiness to power EVs today and in the future. It does no good to have electric trucks if they are going to sit parked against the fence because we don’t have the capability to keep them charged and on the road.