Make way for electric freight transport
Panteia and Qirion conducted a study for ElaadNL. In the near future it will not only be more economical for transporters to switch to electric, but in many cases it will even be necessary. To achieve a timely transition to electric logistics, the charging infrastructure and the underlying power grid, among other things, must be prepared in time for the arrival of e-trucks.
There are three factors that ensure the rapid transition from fuel to electrification in logistics. First, the supply of new means of transport increasingly consists of electric models. Second, zero-emission zones are emerging in which only vehicles that emit no CO2 are allowed. Third, the total cost of ownership (TCO) - that is, the total price of purchase, cost per kilometer, maintenance and depreciation of a vehicle - is becoming lower than that of diesel vehicles. These factors add up to a rapid electrification of the logistics fleet. A prerequisite for a rapid transition, however, is the timely rollout of charging infrastructure. Electric trucks charge a lot of power in a short time, at high capacities. This means that the underlying power network must also be prepared in good time, according to the researchers from Qirion and Panteia. According to their report, the necessary grid reinforcements are not yet underway. This could jeopardize the climate objectives.
Charging requirements for ZE-zones
The integration of charging infrastructure in and around ZE zones must be considered in advance. With the establishment of ZE zones, a charging demand is created in specific places. The researchers see an important directing role here for municipalities. They can designate the locations for charging plazas together with network operators and transport companies. In addition, they can also take on part of the financial side, for example by setting up a fund to pre-finance grid connections.
"It is important to start expanding the energy grid quickly, especially around ZE zones," says Willem Alting of knowledge and innovation center ElaadNL. "Only in this way can we, as network operators, contribute to the proper functioning of ZE zones. Various aspects are already being investigated in the 'Faster on the Grid' action team. But there is certainly still an important way to go here."
Include costs and lead time in TCO
The study also advises transport operators to include the costs of charging facilities and connections in the TCO. Choosing electric is becoming more economical, but investments in charging infrastructure for heavy vehicles come with hefty costs. The choice of charging facilities and when they will be needed are therefore essential for logistics companies. The report states that companies electrifying need to look in advance at the size of the grid connection and how to deal with an energy supply that varies by time, price and location. In some cases, for example, this may mean establishing a new connection from the medium-voltage grid. For the expansion of the medium-voltage grid, the grid manager calculates an average realization time of 2.5 to 5 years. All parties involved will benefit from mapping out in advance what the charging requirements will be and exploring solutions such as joint use of collective charging platforms. This helps to keep the task feasible.