Battery-electric coaches fit planned European charging network

OEMs agree to European charging network that will suit battery electric coaches

At least 1,700 high-performance ‘green energy’ charging points across Europe that will be able to service battery-electric coaches are planned to be the first results of a non-binding agreement between Daimler Truck, Traton Group – parent of MAN and Scania – and Volvo Group.

The agreement between the three companies lays the foundation of a future joint venture (JV) that is planned to start operations in 2022. The parties intend to collectively invest €500m to install and operate the 1,700 charging points, which are planned to be in place within five years of the JV’s establishment. That number will increase “significantly” over time by seeking further partners and public funding, they add.

The charging facilities will be close to highways as well as at destination and logistics points. They will be accessible to all commercial vehicles, regardless of manufacturer. The three partners add that “the highest priority of the future JV” is to tailor the charging provision to the 45-minute mandatory breaks that drivers must take, but it will also permit overnight replenishment.

While the planned JV is principally to support the logistics sector to enable zero-emission long-distance freight transport, a joint statement from Daimler, Traton and Volvo is clear that the charging points will also serve battery-electric coaches. They add that all industry partners, along with governments and regulators, will need to work together to deliver the necessary rapid expansion in the charging network across Europe.

Signing of the JV agreement is expected by the end of 2021. Each company will own equal shares, but they will remain competitors in all other areas.

Daimler Truck and Volvo Group have already signed a binding agreement to create Cellcentric, a separate JV that will develop, produce and commercialise hydrogen fuel cell-electric systems for heavy vehicles.