A high-performance public charging network across Europe that will service vehicles including battery-electric coaches has come a step closer after OEMs Daimler Truck, Traton Group – the parent of Scania and MAN – and Volvo Group signed a binding agreement to create the joint venture (JV) that will install and operate it.
€500m will be invested in the network. As already announced, it will involve the installation and operation of at least 1,700 charging points that are described as being based on “green energy.” They will be located close to highways as well as logistics and destination points.
The JV will be owned equally by the three parties. It is scheduled to start operation in 2022 following completion of regulatory approval. The partners have underlined that the network will cater to both fast charging – tailored to drivers’ mandatory 45min break periods – and overnight replenishment. The former remains “the highest priority of the future JV,” they add, although power ratings of the planned charging points has not yet been revealed.
While much talk of the charging network centres on freight transport, a joint statement from the three OEMs involved specifically states that it will also capture battery-electric coaches. “This initiative is a significant start and an accelerator to make CO2-neutral heavy trucks and coaches a success,” the statement continues.
Traton Group CEO Christian Levin says that the JV “will be a strong push for the rapid breakthrough of battery-electric trucks and coaches, the most efficient and sustainable transport solutions.”
None of the OEMs involved are known to have yet built a battery-electric coach. However, they previously confirmed that the charging network will be manufacturer agnostic and will be available to all battery-electric commercial vehicles regardless of builder.
All 1,700 charging points are slated for completion within five years of the JV’s establishment. The number should be expanded “significantly” by seeking additional partners and public funding.