VW, Daimler, Volvo team up to build truck chargers

An electric powered Cit-E truck at the MAN booth at the IAA Commercial Vehicles fair in Hannover, northern Germany, 20 September 2018. [EPA-EFE/FOCKE STRANGMANN]

The truck manufacturing units of Volkswagen, Daimler and Volvo announced Monday (5 July) they will team up to build a network of 1,700 charging points for heavy-duty vehicles in Europe using green electricity.

The initial plan foresees a €500 million ($600 million) investment to drive the five-year project, but the companies said they hoped to bring in additional partners and obtain public funding to build additional charging stations for long-haul trucks and buses using batteries.

The high-performance charging stations will use electricity from renewable sources and be located close to highways as well as at logistic and destination points. They will also be open to all brands of commercial vehicles.

The project will be managed by a joint venture that is planned to begin operations next year.

The companies said they hope the project “will act as catalyst and enabler for realising the European Union’s Green Deal for a carbon-neutral freight transportation by 2050 – both by providing the necessary infrastructure and targeting for green energy at the charging points.”

They pointed to a recent report by an industry body that called for the installation of 15,000 high-performance charging points in Europe by 2025 to enable haulers to begin shifting to electric vehicles.

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The chief executive of Volkswagen’s truck unit Traton, Matthias Gruendler, was quoted in a statement as saying “it is clear that the future of transport is electric”.

He said the initiative was a first step to accelerate the transition to a fossil fuel-free future for the long-haul transport sector.

“The second step should be a strong engagement of the EU for the full scale-up of a charging network across Europe,” he added.

This is not the first such collaboration between truck and bus manufacturers in Europe.

Daimler and Volvo in March announced a joint venture to develop hydrogen fuel cells for heavy trucks.

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Under pressure from regulators, truck makers have softened their criticism of Europe’s first-ever regulation on CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles, focusing their comments on the lack of recharging infrastructure in cities and motorways.

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