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What should I see at a Utility conference?

image credit: Schaller LLC 2022
David Schaller's picture
Industry Engagement Director, North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE)

Electric/hybrid MD & HD commercial trucks are just entering the marketplace. With over 3 decades of experience introducing new technologies to the trucking industry, it is a pleasure to be...

  • Member since 2020
  • 33 items added with 11,043 views
  • Apr 6, 2022

With nearly four decades of experience in the commercial trucking industry, I have been to hundreds of trucks shows including one in South Africa. For 2022, there is something new on my travel plans; three utility conferences! Why is a long term "truck guy" headed to conferences in the power world? Battery electric trucks and possibily hydrogen fuel cell trucks is the simple answer. These two industries need to do a LOT of collaborating in a hurry as the transportation world is working to decarbonize. We have several decades of experience of adding more and more sensors and devices to internal combustion engines and exhaust systems. Although they reduce emissions, that add complexity and downtime to an industry that fights for efficiency and uptime.

Your input as to how to best utilize my time at "your shows" is greatly appreciated. I would be more than happy to talk with any leaders that are tasked with the "transportation electrification" challenge. We are in this together and need to learn from each other. The conversations won't be easy. The term "transmission" created completely different mental images in our two industries.  So do terms like loads, drivers, generation, gears and many others! We are likely to confuse each other with acronyms that are not native to our industries. That is totally acceptable if we stop and help each other learn, grow and move forward together.

Who is interested in this challenging walk? Can we talk? 


"A truck guy"

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Apr 6, 2022

I love that you're asking this question now, David, as it's really going to be impossible in the coming years to avoid the natural interactions between the transportation and the energy industries. We're going to see the rise of more private companies dirsupting both (such as Tesla), and utilities will be hiring transportation folks in droves. 

As to your question, I think a great opportunity to keep in mind in utility conferences is just how open and collaborative people are. I'm not sure about the trucking conferences, but in the energy sector there's a large 'rising tide lifts all ships' attitude, and it's not about competing as much as it is collectively solving these problems we're all facing. 

I'll be interested to hear your experience afterwards-- do come back and share what you learned as your foray into this new territory!

David Schaller's picture
David Schaller on Apr 6, 2022

Thanks Matt! IF someone from a utility company would like a tour of a truck show that I'm attending, I'd be honored to walk them through the show and point out what is significant to electrification. I'd love to find someone willing to do the same for me at a utility show. I'm sure that there are hundreds of booths, but probably a dozen or two that are truly significant for truck electrification.

David Schaller's picture
Thank David for the Post!
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