transport truckEngineering PhD student Terence Dimatulac’s model of the impacts of electrifying transport trucks was honoured as best research paper at the Canadian Transportation Research Forum in Montreal last month.

Study on electrification of big rigs earns engineering student award for best research paper

Research to model the potential impacts of electrifying long-haul trucks in Ontario earned best paper honours for engineering PhD student Terence Dimatulac at the Canadian Transportation Research Forum in Montreal last month.

Co-authored with civil and environmental professors Hanna Maoh and Rupp Carriveau in civil engineering’s Traffic Lab at the Cross Border Institute, Dimatulac’s paper focused on developing an archetypal routing network of heavy commercial vehicles to determine ideal charging station locations while minimizing disruptions on electrical grid systems.

“Based on truck routes and stops, the end goal is to identify potential locations of charging infrastructures to start and sustain a large-scale deployment of electric trucks,” says Dimatulac. “This is a must for the massive battery packs that will be used to power big rigs.”

Battery hardware in electric trucks can be 10 to 16 times larger than those in passenger vehicles, adding to the challenge of managing power grids, given the substantial number of long-haulers on the road each day.

“Basically, the electricity demand to charge 10 electric trucks simultaneously will be around 14 MW, which is more than what a regular manufacturing facility will consume per hour,” says Dr. Maoh.

Dr. Carriveau adds that trucks are mobile distributed energy resources and knowledge of when and where heavy-duty electric trucks will need to charge will allow for better preparation against potential grid system disruptions.

Ultimately, though, electrification of trucks is another step at increasing sustainability, Dimatulac says: “Big rigs are major contributors of greenhouse gases, so their electrification is vital to decarbonize the transportation sector.”

—Gam Macasaet