On Friday’s episode of Net-Zero Carbon, moderator Tyler Cole joined Forum Mobility CEO Matt LeDucq to discuss the market opportunities and challenges of electrifying trolley fleets.
“This is very much an infrastructure business,” LeDucq said. “Basically, what we deliver isn’t much different than delivering a genset to a utility company. In the case of electricity, you build a power plant, you build megawatt hours to a utility, and they buy them. There’s all those permits, build risks and costs, but at the end of the day you’re only delivering one unit, and that’s very similar to what we need to do to make this transition to electric trucks just as easy around driving the Consumer.”
Forum Mobility builds depots, bundles incentives and capital and delivers fully charged trucks to the operators. But how does it choose which carriers to offer service to? Much of this has to do with both economic and environmental justice.
“There are up to over 30,000 trucks registered in California and 80% of them are owned and operated,” LeDucq said. “These are people who run a business and they deserve to run that business. They built it and probably bought these trucks in response to the earlier clean truck rules implemented in California in 2008 and 2009. From the standpoint of economic justice, they deserve a soft landing.
“You can’t crush small companies with regulations, which is exactly why big capitalized companies win when there’s a big transition. And the transition that is taking place now is very acute [tied] to the large and well-capitalized companies. We are absolutely a commercial company but our mission here is to do what is right for our customers and our largest customer base is the owner-operator market.”
On the environmental justice side, solving the air quality issue near ports is not easy. People living in areas around the Long Beach harbor are more than 90% more likely to develop cancer than those living in the wider Los Angeles Basin. This makes loading at the port the perfect solution for the forum to change these numbers.
Forum’s goal is to put between 500 and 600 charging trucks into operation in California over the next 18 months to build a solid footing for its business. From then on and in the future, the company aspires to have thousands of trucks and facilities to help reduce CO2 emissions in the transportation industry.
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