VW’s MAN and E.ON join forces to charge electric trucks

FRANKFURT, (Reuters) – German energy company E.ON and Volkswagen subsidiary MAN Truck & Bus plan to set up a pan-European electric charging network for trucks, starting this year, they said on Thursday.

Europe has set itself the goal of reducing emissions from heavy commercial vehicles by 90% by 2040 compared with 2019.

So far, however, zero-emission electric trucks are rare in Europe, while the take-up of passenger electric cars has grown steadily, although it is beginning to slow.

The lack of charging infrastructure is often a decisive factor for companies when deciding whether to opt for battery-electric trucks.

E.ON and MAN said joining forces would allow them to overcome the hurdles, in a joint statement issued at a signing event in Essen, western Germany.

“We are investing heavily to give the infrastructure for electric heavy goods transport a decisive boost and to set the course for sustainable logistics and green supply chains,” E.ON’s chief executive Leonhard Birnbaum said.

MAN Truck & Bus head Alexander Vlaskamp said he was delighted with the partnership with E.ON.

A first site in the multi-country network will open this year, with around 80 to follow by the end of 2025 and 170 locations planned long term, of which 125 will be in Germany, the statement said.

Additional sites are being built in Austria, Britain, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Initially, each site will be equipped with several 400 kilowatt charging stations, allowing an average electric truck to recharge for a range of up to 300 kilometers (km) in about 45 minutes.

Subsequently, they would install infrastructure to allow more rapid charging.

MAN plans to launch a truck with a daily range of up to 800 km later this year.

Neither company gave detail of how much they were spending on the project.

Reporting by Vera Eckert and Tom Kaeckenhoff, editing by Madeline Chambers and Barbara Lewis