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Electric vehicles ever more powerful

Two companies from Europe have set new records in electric mobility. The Swiss company Futuricum has proven that trucks can indeed cover long distances without having to be recharged in between. The company Zero Emission Services (ZES) from Rotterdam, on the other hand, is revolutionising inland navigation in the green heart of Holland.

The large cities in the west of the Netherlands form a densely built-up ring of settlements, the centre of which is characterised by nature, broken up by small towns, often with a village character. This sparsely populated area has served city dwellers for decades as a local recreation area, and it should stay that way. One disruptive factor is the diesel-powered inland waterway vessels that also pollute the air there. And even though inland navigation is only responsible for 5% of CO2 emissions, people here want to make their contribution to cleaner air.

The company ZES has now sent the first fossil-free container ship on its way. Although there are already smaller ferries that run fully electrically, no ship has ever transported 100 containers at once. The ship, which has so far only carried beer, connects Alphen-on-Rhine in the green heart with the Moerdijk container terminal on the Maas not far from Rotterdam. The trick: the movable empty batteries are lifted out together with the cargo and recharged while the ship takes new, full batteries on board and resumes its approximately 80-kilometre journey. Waiting at the quay thus becomes superfluous.

Something is also happening on the road: the Swiss company Futuricum has now sent an electric truck of the parcel delivery company DPD on the almost three-kilometre test route of the tyre manufacturer Continental near Hanover with a particularly powerful battery. Thanks to the battery's storage capacity of 680 kWh, the converted 19-tonne truck managed 1100 kilometres without having to recharge once, despite the battery's heavy weight. The optimised tyres from Continental, which ensure particularly little resistance on the road, certainly also contributed to this.

At an average speed of 50 km/h, the journey, which was completed by two drivers in alternating operation, took around 23 hours. An average trip by DPD's trucks is only 300 kilometres long, so there should be no problems whatsoever in everyday life with the new electric truck. However, the test run did not take place under real conditions, because neither braking nor acceleration is required on the test route.

Both examples show how innovative one can be in the meantime when it comes to electric mobility. However, part of the costs for these innovations will also have to be borne by consumers and customers.