Volvo Group, Daimler Truck and the heavy truck business of Volkswagen AG, the Traton Group, announced a non-binding agreement on Monday to set up a network of high-performance public charging stations for electric heavy-duty long-distance trucks and buses across Europe. The news was first reported by Reuters.
The three major European automakers will invest € 500 million (~ $ 593 million) to install and operate 1,700 charging points in strategic locations and near highways. They plan to finalize the agreement by the end of this year and begin operations next year, hoping to significantly increase the number of charging points as the companies seek additional partners for the future joint venture.
The project is intended to be a catalyst to prepare for the goals of the European Union for climate-neutral freight transport by 2050. One of the main deterrents for both individuals and freight companies to switch to electric vehicles in the past has been a lack of charging infrastructure. By building this infrastructure, Volvo, Daimler and Traton can also boost their own sales of electric trucks and buses.
“It is the common goal of European truck manufacturers to achieve climate neutrality by 2050,” said Martin Daum, CEO of Daimler Truck, in a statement. “However, setting up the right infrastructure must go hand in hand with CO. Emissions2– neutral trucks on the road. We are therefore very pleased to be taking this groundbreaking step together with the Volvo Group and the Traton Group in building a high-performance charging network across Europe. “
The partnership between Volvo and Daimler is not unprecedented. In May, the two competitors joined forces to produce hydrogen fuel cells for long-haul trucks in order to reduce development costs and increase production volumes. This latest project is another signal that large companies are coming together to solve climate-related problems in the industry.
The European auto industry association ACEA has called for up to 50,000 high-performance charging points by 2030. Traton boss Matthias Gründler told Reuters that around 10 billion euros would be needed to fully electrify Europe’s infrastructure by 2050.
According to a statement released by Volvo, this move is also a call to action for others involved in the industry, such as automakers or governments, to work together to ensure the rapid expansion needed to meet the climate goals.
The charging stations will be brand-independent and battery-electric vehicle fleet operators will be able to use fast charging during the European 45-minute mandatory rest period for long-distance traffic as well as overnight charging.
The joint venture will operate from Amsterdam under its own corporate identity. Volvo, Daimler and Traton will have an equal share in the company, but will continue to compete in all other areas.