A European charging network for “battery electric heavy-duty long-haul trucks and coaches” will be developed jointly by three major transportation firms.
Volvo, Daimler Truck and the Traton Group have signed a non-binding agreement for the installation and operation of the network, the three companies said in a joint announcement earlier this week. The deal will lead to the creation of a joint venture in which all the three companies will have equal ownership and it is expected that the joint venture will start its operations in 2022.
The joint venture will be headquartered in the Dutch city of Amsterdam and the companies will together make an investment of 500 million euros (around $593 million) in the venture.
The companies said that they hope to set up, install and make functional at least 1,700 “green energy charging points” within the next five years.
The electric vehicle charging stations will be situated “close to highways as well as at logistic and destination points”, the firms said.
“The number of charging points is with time intended to be increased significantly by seeking additional partners as well as public funding,” they added.
The number of electric cars, buses, vans and heavy trucks on roads is expected to tough 145 million by 2030 globally, the International Energy Agency said in April.
The fleet of electric vehicles globally could increase even further and could touch as much 230 million vehicles by the end of the decade if various governments around the world ramp up their efforts to lower carbon emissions to meet international energy and climate goals, according to the Paris-based organization. Two- and three-wheeled electric vehicles were excluded from both of these projections.
And with the anticipated growth in the number of EVs in the world, there will also be increased need for extensive charging networks rolled out for all types of vehicles so that the increased demands could be met and for allying lingering concerns about “range anxiety” –fears that EVs will not be able to run for long distances without losing power and getting stranded.
Further, the challenges posed by the electrification of long-haul, heavy-duty trucks and coaches are unique in themselves. According to the IEA’s Global EV Outlook for 2021, “long-haul trucking requires advanced technologies for high power charging and/or large batteries.”
The reasons for need to set up special charging networks for heavy duty vehicles was explained by Volvo’s chief technology officer, Lars Stenqvist.
“Right now, we are producing and distributing electric heavy duty trucks mainly for refuse applications, for city applications,” he said. “And those vehicles, normally they’re coming home to their ‘base camp’ every evening for charging.”
Regional and long haul applications would be the next step on the journey, Stenqvist said.
“Then, you are dependent on … [getting] the pan-European charging network in place and, right now, it’s a little bit of [a] chicken and egg discussion because there are no vehicles out there and … no infrastructure. But if there is no infrastructure, there will not be any vehicles.”
(Adapted from CNBC.com)