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Truck industry starts its own electric offensive

The major truck manufacturers have joined forces to build a comprehensive charging network for trucks in Europe. Since politicians are only making very slow progress with improving the infrastructure, they are now taking the challenge into their own hands. This is urgently needed, because soon there will be no more trucks with combustion engines in some environmental zones.

Daimler, Volvo and the VW Traton Group, to which MAN and Scania belong, are massively expanding the European truck charging network in the coming years. In the next 5 years they want to build at least 1,700 charging stations near motorways and transhipment points and are jointly investing 500 million euros in the charging network. The charging points are to be powered by green electricity.

The three players, who together account for 60% of trucks on European roads, have set themselves the goal of moving away completely from the internal combustion engine in the years up to 2050. By 2025, there should initially be a 13% reduction in diesel-powered vehicles, followed by a 30% reduction by the end of the decade. From 2050 onwards, there should then only be electrically powered heavy goods vehicles, either with fuel cells and hydrogen or battery-powered.

But the truck charging network needed for this is still miles away from nationwide coverage. Although there are still many deficiencies in the car charging network, it is being massively promoted and expanded by the manufacturers and, above all, by politicians. The EU and individual countries have set themselves targets to put a certain number of electric cars on the roads. For example, the EU wants 30 million electric cars by 2030. Politicians are imposing more and more requirements on the truck industry with regard to their emissions, but they are rather reluctant to help with the industry's charging network.

But the expansion of the charging network is indeed urgently needed. The tightening of environmental zones in some countries is progressing rapidly and will soon make it very difficult for trucks with combustion engines. The Netherlands has planned not to allow vans or trucks with combustion engines in 14 environmental zones from 2025. The yellow category 2 sticker, which is assigned to the newest trucks with diesel engines, will also soon be taboo in some of France's environmental zones. In Paris, it is to be banned as early as the beginning of 2024. This will affect all diesel vehicles, including vans, trucks and buses. Other French cities will surely follow suit.

So it is high time that the industry prepares for these bans. The manufacturers of Daimler, Volvo and Traton hope that your initiative will also move other players in the industry as well as politicians and legislators to act. Only if they act together will they be able to adapt quickly enough to the rules of the environmental zones.