Daimler, Navistar and Volvo have been criticized for not selling many electric heavy trucks, but the companies say the country first needs many more chargers.
There are more than four million electric vehicles on American roads, but fewer than 1,000 of them are heavy-duty trucks. On Tuesday, the three largest truck makers plan to announce a push to remedy that deficit by calling on governments and utilities to help them build many more places to charge big rigs.
Daimler Truck, which owns Freightliner; Navistar, which is controlled by Volkswagen; and Volvo Trucks have formed an association to push for chargers, improvements to the electricity grid and other measures they say are needed to promote battery- or hydrogen-powered trucks.
The new organization, Powering America’s Commercial Transportation, will be based in Washington and also be open to suppliers, nonprofit organizations and other groups.
The companies’ decision to work together underscores the degree to which the transition away from fossil fuels is dependent on government support and decisions made in Washington and state capitols. The Inflation Reduction Act, which Democrats passed in 2022, provides $1 billion for electric trucks, including tax credits of up to $40,000 for companies that buy them, as well as subsidies for charging infrastructure.
But officials are just beginning to distribute the money, and the truck companies complain that they have gotten less attention from federal and state governments than makers of cars.
“There’s a lot of funding that’s available out there from the federal government,” said Dawn Fenton, vice president of government relations and public affairs at Volvo North America. “There’s been little so far focused on the heavy-duty charging infrastructure.”