Penske Truck Leasing, as part of its ongoing goal to expand the electrification of its fleet, is piloting software in conjunction with artificial intelligence energy storage provider Stem, Inc., to help drive off-peak electricity savings and minimize utility peak demand charges.
The companies have worked together since April to pilot Athena smart energy storage software and operate an advanced battery storage system.
Penske says Stem’s Athena software has driven a 40% decrease in its site peak energy consumption since starting the pilot program. The project included a 350 kilowatt/800 kilowatt hour battery system at Penske’s heavy-duty truck charging positions in Ontario, Calif.
Athena predicts when the charging site’s electricity demand will spike and uses the supplemental stored energy from on-site batteries to drive off-peak electricity savings and minimize peak demand charges. Athena can track battery performance in real time, optimize battery storage, and automatically store and release energy, among other abilities.
Stem collaborated with Penske and its other suppliers for the project, including optimizing energy tariffs, utilizing energy storage to secure funds from California Air Quality Resources and securing incentives from California’s Self Generation Incentive Program.
“The growth in demand for electric vehicles and fleet charging solutions will require smart energy storage to help optimize energy usage, support the grid, and help companies go electric,” says Stem CEO John Carrington.
Penske has been active in fleet electrification. In July the company announced a partnership with Roush CleanTech and Proterra to develop an all-electric Ford F-650. In late 2020 Penske began providing a battery-electric eM2 from the Freightliner Innovation Fleet for California-based delivery company Tecmo Logistics.
Additionally, Penske produced the State of Sustainable Fleets 2020, an industry report on the advancement and accelerating the use of sustainable vehicles in the transportation industry.
Use of renewable fuel and energy options for fleets remains an important advance in the field. The Environmental Protection Agency as part of its SmartWay program estimates shipments of goods in the United States will grow by 45% by 2040. During this time the EPA says emissions from that growth will outpace emissions from all other sources, including passenger transportation.
Many companies have announced plans to continue to grow electric fleets as a response. FedEx, for example, says it will replace all its pickup and delivery fleet with battery-operated vehicles by 2040. Amazon has pledged to add 100,000 electric vehicles as part of a $1 billion sustainability bond.
By David Worford, contributing writer