Workshop Highlights Medium- and Heavy-Duty Electric Vehicle Opportunities for Minnesotans

July 14, 2022 | | Events

Photos courtesy of M. Moaz Uddin


Moaz Uddin is Great Plains Institute’s Electric Vehicle Policy Specialist and is a member of the Transportation & Fuels Team and Drive Electric Minnesota staff. Read about his experience with several of Minnesota’s electric “gentle giants” below.

The Minnesota Clean Cities Coalition (MC3), American Lung Association, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) held the Medium and Heavy-Duty Electric Vehicle Workshop at the MPCA office in Saint Paul on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

Individuals and organizations from across Minnesota attended the workshop, which was the first of its kind since the pandemic began. The audience and speakers were a diverse group representing private organizations, nonprofits, and governmental entities. The workshop kicked off with presentations from the four main stakeholder groups that comprise the medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles industry in Minnesota:

  • Manufacturers and dealers: Representatives from Minnesota-based Zeus Electric Chassis, Peterbilt, Nuss Truck & Equipment, Orange EV, Volvo, XOS, and Freightliner answered questions about their impressive line-up of medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles. The manufacturers and dealers also had vehicles that attendees could test drive!
  • Fleets: Representatives from Ruan, a transportation company that has been an early adopter of medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles, spoke about their experiences with the Orange EV electric terminal trucks. Ruan saved 92 percent on fuel costs by switching to the electric terminal truck at one of their Minnesota facilities. One of the technicians mentioned that, according to their analysis, Ruan has also saved more than 50 percent on maintenance costs by going electric. Ruan also displayed their electric terminal tractor at the event.
  • Utilities: A representative from Xcel Energy reiterated the role that electric utilities play in the transition to electric vehicles. Xcel Energy and other utilities in Minnesota are actively assisting fleets with switching to electric vehicles by offering them free advisory services, behind-the-meter upgrades, and rebates on electric vehicle chargers.
  • Funders: The MPCA presented some funding opportunities available for medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles and charging equipment. The opportunities include the heavy-duty electric vehicle replacement grant and the Diesel Emission Reduction Act grant.

After the presentations, discussion sessions, and lunch, we moved to the most anticipated item on the agenda—the opportunity to witness an array of medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles firsthand!

Representatives from Volvo, Peterbilt, Orange EV, XOS, and Ruan presented their vehicles, answered questions, and took us for rides in the trucks and step vans. Attendees had the opportunity to get in anticipated medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles like the Volvo VNR Electric, XOS SV05 Stepvan, and the Peterbilt 220 EV. One attendee described these vehicles as “gentle giants” because of their utterly silent operation.

While I have been in, and driven, many light-duty electric vehicles, I was still surprised by the smooth and noise-free operation of these medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles ranging from Class 4 step vans to Class 8 tractors. I could tell that the other attendees, many of whom were fleet managers for various organizations, were equally impressed as they drove and rode in the trucks. We can expect many of these fleets to be inspired by Ruan’s experience and order their own electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles soon!

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