Infrastructure and vehicles, the challenges of electrification

The electrification of highways and vehicles is a necessary step to reduce carbon footprint and meet European targets to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% in 2025.

It is a prime opportunity for the sector to showcase its many initiatives.

The race to innovate is fuelled by the challenges of vehicle autonomy, charging facilities, charging speed and others.

In parallel, an electric industrial sector has emerged bringing together electricity industry and vehicle stakeholders, including urban transport. Heavy duty vehicle manufacturers and OEMs specialising in electrical fittings are working closely together. The problems relating to batteries and charging stations are in the process of being solved. Power supply modes are also changing. Plans for electrified roads have fed through from northern Europe and tests are beginning in this country.

Public subsidies are required to guarantee the competitivity of electric vehicles, since electric LCVs and HGVs are very expensive, beyond the purchasing possibilities of many transport companies. SOLUTRANS 2019 will be the meeting place for thought on electrification and its possible extensions. Experts and users of electric vehicles (LCVs, trucks) will contribute their insight.

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  • DAF Trucks offers the 19-tonne 195 kW/266 hp LF Electric model with a range of 220 km and the 4x2 CF Electric tractor unit fitted with a 210 kW/286 hp VDL E-Power smart electric motor with a range of 100 km.
  • Renault Trucks has put several experimental fully electric vehicles to the test in the 12 to 16-tonne segment. Delanchy Transports is running a fully electric 13-tonne refrigerated truck for deliveries to Halles Paul Bocuse in the centre of Lyon. Mass production of electric trucks is starting in March at the Blainville plant in Normandy, with the first deliveries planned for September.
  • Volvo Trucks delivered its first electric vehicles in February 2019 : a waste collection truck for Swedish company Renova and a haulage truck for DB Schenker. Mass production of the FL Electric (16 tonnes) and the FE Electric (26 tonnes) will begin in the second half of 2019.
  • Mercedes will produce the eActros in 2021. With two electric engines of 170 hp et 485 Nm, each one powered by a 240 kWh battery, the truck will have a range of up to 200 km and will be able to be charged in three hours. 
  • In Austria, MAN is testing the eTG prototype in a 32-tonne tractor unit version with a range of 130 km and a 26-tonne carrier with a range of 200 km. Mass production will begin in 2021. MAN has already sold one eTGM to Porsche for delivery logistics on the site of the Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen plant, enabling a CO2 reduction of over 30 tonnes per year.
  • Nikola, in the United States, is adapting its “Two” and “Tre” hydrogen models in a fully electric version for the European market. Presented in 2019, they will be offered with three battery capacities: 500 kWh, 750 kWh and 1,000 kWh for a range of up to 700 km.
  • Also in the United States, Tesla created a buzz when it demonstrated the Tesla Semi. Market launch has been announced, without any certainty, for the end of 2019.
  • At the end of 2018, Ford unveiled its own electric truck, called F-Vision Future Truck. Its technical specifications are as yet unknown.