European truckmakers join forces on electric charging network

In a knock for the assumption that heavy duty trucks and other vehicles will require hydrogen fuel in future, three major commercial vehicle manufacturers – Volvo Group, Daimler Truck and the Traton Group – have announced plans for an electric charging network.
The three companies have signed a non-binding agreement that should result, by the end of 2021, in a joint venture that will install and operate a high-performance public charging network for battery electric heavy-duty long-haul trucks and coaches across Europe. The JV, equally owned by the three parties, will invest €500M
to install and operate at least 1,700 high-performance green energy charging points close to highways as well as at logistic and destination points, within five years. They partners intend to seek public funding and further partners to significantly increase the number of charging points.
Battery electric vehicle fleet operators will be able to leverage both fast charging tailored to the 45-minute mandatory rest period in Europe focusing on long-distance transport – the highest priority of the future JV – and also charge overnight.
The companies say the JV addresses “the urgent need for a high-performance charging network to support truck operators with their transition to carbon-neutral transport solutions especially in heavy-duty long-distance trucking. High-performance charging infrastructure enabling long-haul trucking is a cost-efficient way towards significant, fast-to-realize emission reductions.”

Matthias Gründler, chief executive of Traton Group, whose brands include Scania and MAN, said, “it is clear that the future of transport is electric. This requires the rapid development of publicly accessible charging points, especially for long-distance heavy-duty transport. We are now moving forward together with our partners Daimler Truck and Volvo Group to make this high-performance network a reality as quickly as possible. We now make the first step to accelerate the transition towards sustainable, fossil free transport. The second step should be a strong engagement of the EU for the full scale-up of a charging network across Europe.”

Martin Daum, chief executive of Daimler Truck, said: “It is the joint aim of Europe’s truck manufacturers to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. However, it is vital that building up the right infrastructure goes hand in hand with putting CO2-neutral trucks on the road.”

A recent industry report called for up to 15,000 high-performance public and destination charging points no later than 2025, and up to 50,000 high-performance charging points no later than 2030. The partners said the JV would be a call for action to other industry players, as well as governments and regulators, to work together for a rapid expansion of the necessary charging network to be able to contribute to reaching the climate targets. They said, “As a clear signal towards all stakeholders, the charging network of the three parties will be open and accessible to all commercial vehicles in Europe, regardless of brand’.