Daimler, Volvo, Traton groups unite for Euro E-Coach charging

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Daimler Truck


A TRIUMVIRATE comprising Daimler Truck, the Traton Group and Volvo Group has now signed a binding agreement to create a joint venture to install and operate a high-performance public charging network for battery-electric, heavy-duty long-distance coaches and long-haul trucks across Europe, it was announced recently.

Daimler, Volvo, Traton groups unite for Euro E-Coach charging
The three partners - Daimler Truck, Volvo Group and Traton Group (MAN/Scania/VW) - see this long-haul and long-distance e-charging - as a breakthrough for the transport industry to cut carbon emissions and for other industries to benefit in several ways.

The collective says it is committed to initiating and accelerating the necessary build-up of charging infrastructure for the increasing number of customers of electric vehicles in Europe and contribute to climate-neutral transportation in Europe by 2050.

Last month Daimler announced partnerships with fuel companies BP and Total to investigate building nearly 200 hydrogen refulling stations across Europe.

"Today’s signing announcement is great news for the transport industry and society, as it underlines all of the partners’ strong commitment to making CO2-neutral trucks a reality," said Daimler Truck CEO Martin Daum.

"It is remarkable that three fierce competitors in the area of trucks and vehicle technology are taking action together to start establishing the needed charging infrastructure.

"Together with Volvo Group and the Traton Group, we want to send a clear signal to all relevant stakeholders to follow our lead and act now," Daum stated.

The planned JV — to be equally owned by the three parties — is scheduled to start operations in 2022 following completion of all regulatory approval processes.

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BIG INVESTMENT

The parties are together committing to invest €500 million (AU$789 million), which is assumed to be by far the largest charging infrastructure investment in the European heavy-duty truck industry to date.

The plan is to install and operate at least 1,700 high-performance green energy charging points on - and close to - highways, as well as at logistic and destination points within five years of the establishment of the JV, the group explains.

"We are going from words to action, and this planned joint venture with Daimler Truck and the Traton Group is an important step in shaping a world we want to live in," said Volvo Group president and CEO Martin Lundstedt.

"Innovative partnerships like these will enable the much-needed change that will benefit our customers — and the entire industry. This is both a historical milestone in the transformation towards fossil-free transport and a breakthrough that shows Volvo Group’s commitment to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 and a net-zero emissions rolling fleet by 2050 at the latest," Lundstedt explained.

The number of charging points is, with time, intended to be increased significantly by seeking additional partners, as well as public funding, the group outlines. The future JV is planned to operate under its own corporate identity and is to be based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the trio confirms.

The future JV will act as catalyst and enabler for realising the European Union’s Green Deal for carbon-neutral freight transportation by 2050 — both by providing the necessary infrastructure and targeting green energy at the charging points.

The companies say this joint action addresses the urgent need for a high-performance charging network to support truck operators with their transition to CO2-neutral transport solutions, especially in heavy-duty long-distance trucking.

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COST EFFECTIVE

High-performance charging infrastructure enabling long-haul trucking and long-distance coach travel is a cost-efficient way towards significant, fast-to-realise emission reductions, they explain. This initiative is a significant start and an accelerator to make CO2-neutral heavy trucks and coaches a success, the group adds.

"We have the strong opinion that we as the Traton Group - together with our brands Scania and MAN, as well as the commercial vehicle industry as a whole - will be part of the solution when it comes to a CO2-neutral world," said Traton Group CEO Christian Levin.

"A collaboration with strong competitors like Daimler Truck and Volvo Group might seem unusual. However, the topic is of crucial importance and this unique cooperation will make us faster and more successful in delivering the transformational action needed to tackle climate change.

"Our joint venture will be a strong push for the rapid breakthrough of battery-electric trucks and coaches, the most efficient and sustainable transport solutions," says Levin stated.

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BIGGER PICTURE

The three partners see this as a breakthrough for the transport industry to cut carbon emissions — and for other industries to benefit in several ways. 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. 

The creation of the JV is subject to regulatory approvals.   

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ABOVE: (L-R): The three CEOs -  Martin Daum, Christian Levin and Martin Lundstedt.

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