Electromobility is rapidly finding its way into commercial fleets. However, as the requirements for commercial customers differ significantly from those of a private customer, the manufacturers of electric vehicles often test them in practice together with their customers. They focus on the evaluation of vehicle ranges, infrastructure requirements, charging management, and service capacities.
In the past few months Daimler, MAN, Scania and others have been increasingly involved in projects for last mile delivery using electric trucks, or e-trucks for short. Today’s generation of available e-trucks can already relieve the fleet traffic there. And so, thanks to emission-free delivery traffic, the air in the cities can be immediately improved.
Electromobility has also found its way into the fleet at DB Schenker. In recent months, DB Schenker has received five Fuso eCanter trucks from Daimler, all of which are used on the so-called last mile. DB Schenker will thus become one of the first test companies to use electric trucks in several European cities.
Different cities – different challenges
After starting with an electric eCanter last year in Berlin, four more vehicles have been added since March in Frankfurt/Main (1), Stuttgart (1) and Paris (2). It is interesting to note that the tests of electric vehicles in European cities pose very different challenges.
In Berlin, DB Schenker is testing its use in mixed fleets. Due to the size of the city, the problem here is that more goods have to be delivered into the city than have to be delivered out of it. It is clear, however, that many tests with electric delivery vehicles are already underway in Berlin.
In the French capital of Paris, DB Schenker uses two electric Canters for routes with 10 to 12 stops per day. Here, the goods to be delivered are structured in a very different way with much lower average weight quantities. In the narrow streets of Paris, the maneuverability and great passage of an electric truck comes into play.
In Frankfurt and surrounding area, an eCanter from DB Schenker has made electric deliveries since March. The typical distance between the DB Schenker locations is 50 kilometers, from where approx. 1,500 shipments for on-site delivery are handled daily. The results from the deliveries to Offenbach, Aschaffenburg and Darmstadt are interesting. It is necessary to use the available range of 100 km skillfully there.
For a globally active company like DB Schenker, the task will be to incorporate the respective local market conditions into the strategy for electrification of their vehicle assortment. In Japan, for example, the distribution concept is structured completely differently. Compared to Germany, the cities are much larger and dominated by 3.5-tonne trucks. The roads are also narrower and suppliers need more maneuverable vehicles. An electrically operated delivery vehicle offers great advantages here. In addition, Asia has been able to deliver goods to customers overnight with electric vehicles for many years. The virtually silent delivery makes it possible.
These tests therefore bring up nothing less than the question of how DB Schenker (and, of course, their subcontractors) will succeed in the future in delivering as emission-free as possible to the inner cities and the periphery. The electrification of inner-city distribution traffic with deliveries to stationary retailers and end customers also poses enormous challenges. In Frankfurt, this number is already 100-150 of the daily deliveries. Rising trend.
The test vehicle here in Europe: an eCanter from Fuso
The 7.5-tonne Fuso eCanter’s range of at least 100 km covers the demand for inner-city distribution so far without major problems. The vehicles will be charged overnight with AC or DC chargers, depending on availability. With a fast charger, the charging time can be reduced to about one and a half hours.