US, EU Agree on Heavy-Truck Charging Standard

Accord Centers on Universal Application for Megawatt Systems
Gina Raimondo and Antony Blinken
Secretary of State Antony Blinken shares a moment with Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo at the US-EU Trade and Technology Countil meeting in Lulea, Sweden. (Secretary of State Antony Blinken via Twitter)

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To further the quest to electrify trucking, the U.S. government and European Union have agreed that when a megawatt charging standard is developed for heavy trucks, it must be universal.

A common international standard on megawatt charging systems to recharge electric heavy-duty vehicles was among key decisions made May 31 during the fourth ministerial meeting of the US-EU Trade and Technology Council in Lulea, Sweden.

“This [standard] will facilitate transatlantic trade and investment by reducing the manufacturing and deployment costs,” the council stated.

A White House statement May 31 said the TTC will work “to maximize clean energy development, accelerate the transition to a net-zero emission economy no later than 2050, increase the security of supply chains for clean energy technology, and sustain and create well-paying jobs for workers in the transatlantic economy” by sharing information.

The TTC meeting was co-chaired by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and U.S Trade Representative Katherine Tai, along with European Commission executive vice presidents Margrethe Vestager (competition) and Valdis Dombrovskis (trade).

The TTC noted it is “placing decarbonization efforts at the heart of trade policy to accelerate the transition toward a net-zero economy,” since climate change challenges are priorities in the U.S. and EU.

The gathering was to promote issues such as transatlantic cooperation on emerging technologies, sustainable trade, economic prosperity and secure connectivity. Discussions also covered artificial intelligence technologies, an agreement about supply chain early warnings for semiconductors and efforts to advance e-mobility (electric vehicles).

TTC noted that having a uniform Megawatt Charging System standard for electric heavy-duty vehicles is critical.

“We will continue to work together to develop a transatlantic test procedure for high power-charging, up to MCS levels, assuring interoperability and system charge performance,” TTC stated. “These efforts will ensure that stakeholders will benefit from fully compatible technical specifications, reducing manufacturing and deployment costs and thus facilitating transatlantic cooperation for electromobility to become mainstream.”

U.S. government and state officials have primarily been rolling out plans across the nation to introduce more EV charging stations using kilowatts of electricity. Under development is the MCS standard for recharging heavy-duty vehicles since larger batteries need more energy, and it would be beneficial to charge at faster rates than using kilowatts. (The energy in one megawatt is equal to 1,000 kilowatts.)

Tackling the MCS issue is critical to the adoption of medium- and heavy-duty EVs.

“These larger commercial vehicles use a lot of energy and must recharge quickly to avoid costly downtime. Very high-power charging equipment is necessary to quickly recharge the high-capacity batteries in those vehicles,” noted a “Charging for Heavy-Duty Trucks” fact sheet by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.


Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America, discusses what it takes to make electric vehicles successful in the trucking industry. Tune in above or by going to  

A longhaul trucker driving a Class 8 EV tractor would need a 30-minute break to cover the time to it would take for a 1.6-megawatt charge to recover 400 miles of electrical power, according to the fact sheet. (Using a killowatt charger would require longer downtime.)

Another outcome of the TTC meeting was the release of a May 30 document with its recommendations on public EV charging infrastructure.

“Transatlantic collaboration on EV infrastructure technical requirements can help to more efficiently roll out publicly funded charging infrastructure, harmonizing our standards where possible,” the report noted. “This would enable our industries to be more competitive across global markets and put us in a much stronger position in international standardization committees to drive toward global standards that meet EU and U.S. ambitions.”

The 16-page document, by the EU-US Trade and Technology Council, is called “Transatlantic Technical Recommendations for Government Funded Implementation of Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure.”

“Gaps and incompatibilities in proposed connectivity and communication standards for EV charging in the United States and the European Union may impact interoperability and drive industry to produce multiple requirements, leading to increased costs, prolonged development times and trade barriers,” stated the report, written by authors from Argonne National Laboratory and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.



Coinciding with the TTC meeting, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his European Union counterpart issued a joint commitment to collaborate on shared interests, including aligning megawatt standards for recharging heavy electric trucks.

The Joint Communiqué on Transatlantic Cooperation was issued May 30 after a meeting between Buttigieg and Adina Valean, EU transport commissioner.

“The EU and the U.S. share a strong commitment to working together to address the most pressing challenges facing our transportation systems. Our continuing partnership rests on the strong foundation of our transatlantic alliances, friendships and shared values,” Buttigieg remarked in the statement.

Both officials mentioned their commitment to enhance collaboration in research and technology exchanges, especially in EVs, such as aligning an MCS standard for recharging for heavy trucks and deploying EV charging infrastructure.

“The health of the transatlantic economy and the global economy as a whole relies on robust transportation networks capable of safeguarding our supply chains and adapting to new challenges,” said Valean. “We are also partners in confronting the challenges of decarbonizing the transport sector, and we stand together to determine and inspire a change for the future.”

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