On May 11, the Traton Group and ABB E-mobility hosted a joint Parliamentary Evening at the Swedish Embassy in Berlin. During the event, the speakers called on policymakers to actively support the establishment of the European charging infrastructure for commercial vehicles. Joined on stage by Germany’s Minister for Transport Dr. Volker Wissing and Swedish Minister for Infrastructure Andreas Carlson, the Traton Group CEO Christian Levin said: “The technology for the transition to sustainable transportation is ready — for trucks and buses and for charging stations. The Traton Group brands have already proved that their battery electric vehicles are suitable for everyday use and can withstand even the harshest of conditions. Battery technology has advanced so much that a truck can now cover more than 1.5 million kilometers — in other words its entire lifespan — without needing to replace its battery. With the Megawatt Charging System (MCS), another crucial component of battery technology is also up and ready to go. We now need the right political roadmap, framework, and incentives so that we can build a high-performance European charging network at the required speed. This would then pave the way for the European Union to reach its climate goals.”
Michael Halbherr, interim CEO of ABB E-mobility, added: “The electric truck market is still nascent, but the technology is there, and significant progress is already being made. Key industry stakeholders are working collaboratively to pave the way for a sustainable transport future for heavy-duty vehicles. Firstly, by working on key technologies such as megawatt charging and digital charging management solutions, and secondly, by providing and optimizing solutions for the special requirements of long-distance transport like power density, greater grid capacity, microgrid integration, and the demands of tough driving schedules. At ABB E-mobility, we are drawing on our experience in developing the world’s leading EV charging solutions alongside key stakeholders across the sector to enable the needed progress and continue to encourage support from policymakers across Europe.”
Sweden took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union at the beginning of the year and will hold it until mid-2023. In its program for the current Presidency, Sweden emphasizes that the “challenges of global climate change require global responses and Europe must lead by example.” This also puts a clear focus on achieving the European Green Deal target of making Europe the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in transportation by 90% by 2050 compared to 1990. With the growing share of CO2 emissions attributable to transport by road, currently 28%, road haulage plays a decisive role, especially in long-haul transportation. The Traton Group is confident: the future of sustainable transportation is electric. This is why it is investing a total of €2.6 billion in battery electric vehicles in the period from 2021 to 2026. 100,000 trucks running on green electricity instead of diesel can save 10 million tons of CO2 every year.
The Traton Group brands are continuously expanding their portfolios of battery electric buses and trucks. They have already proved that these vehicles are suitable for everyday use and can withstand even the harshest of conditions. From December 2022 to March 2023, MAN’s upcoming large-series eTruck was part of the company’s winter testing in northern Sweden. There, the MAN eTruck, which has a daily range of between 600 and 800 kilometers, showed how well it fares in ice, snow, and temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees. “There are no technical limits when it comes to where battery electric trucks can be used,” says Levin. An electric Scania truck is yet another testament to this — Swedish mining company Boliden is putting this vehicle through its paces under extreme conditions. Weighing in at a total of 74 tons (including freight and trailer), this true heavyweight transports 2,000 tons of gold ore every day. “The only thing standing in the way of the ramp-up of battery electric commercial vehicles is the lack of charging infrastructure. And we can only solve this problem if we have strong support from European policymakers. Other measures are also needed, for example CO2-based toll charges for trucks, higher prices for fossil fuels, and suitable funding tools that guarantee reliability and allow customers to plan ahead. Battery electric trucks will have a higher purchase price than their diesel counterparts, so we need funding programs to incentivize the purchase of these vehicles,” added the Traton Group CEO.
The European Commission and the German government have begun to implement the political framework for establishing charging infrastructure for battery electric trucks in Europe with the introduction of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) and the Charging Infrastructure Master Plan II. However, the practicalities of making a fast and needs-driven MCS network for trucks a reality still pose a major challenge for everyone involved: the commercial vehicle industry, logistics companies, infrastructure providers, but also policymakers and society as a whole.
Milence, the joint venture established by the Traton Group, Daimler Truck, and the Volvo Group, will make an important contribution to the ramp-up of electric mobility and to the European Green Deal. This joint venture aims to build and operate at least 1,700 high-performance green energy charging points on and close to highways as well as at logistics points in Europe. This is why Milence CEO Anja van Niersen also took part in the panel discussion during the Parliamentary Evening. Likewise, Uwe Brinks, CEO of DHL Freight, joined the discussion to address the opportunities and challenges of switching to zero-emission vehicles in Europe through the eyes of their customers.