Is switching to e-trucks already feasible today?

Together with partners from research and development, automotive manufacturing, logistics, and energy and charging infrastructure, Fraunhofer ISI has assessed a total of 9,500 real-world truck trips in Berlin and the surrounding area in a new feasibility study conducted as part of the project “ZeroEmissionDeliveries – Berlin”. In concrete terms, the project examined whether these trips could also be made using battery-powered trucks. The energy required for each vehicle was simulated based on its profile.

Battery-electric trucks can make an important contribution to lowering the greenhouse gas emissions from transport and making Germany climate-neutral by 2045. However, their viability is regularly debated in the logistics industry due to their limited range and high purchasing costs. There is still a high degree of uncertainty and limited everyday experience, especially with regard to the economic efficiency and technical feasibility of such trucks.

To obtain greater clarity, Transport & Environment (T&E) launched the project »ZeroEmissionDeliveries – Berlin« with the REWE Group and other partners and commissioned Fraunhofer ISI to conduct a feasibility study. The study analyzed 9,500 real-world trips of 224 heavy-duty trucks with a gross vehicle weight of more than 12 tons to 543 REWE stores. The energy demand of each vehicle was simulated using its profile and including auxiliaries.  

Current ranges of battery-powered trucks often already sufficient today

Dr. Patrick Plötz, who led the feasibility study at Fraunhofer ISI, summarizes its most important results: »After evaluating all 9,500 truck trips to more than 540 logistics points, it became clear that the current ranges of battery trucks are often already sufficient to manage all the urban truck trips analyzed in the study and almost half of the regional trips considered. The potential is even greater with optimized route planning and interim charging. However, given the vehicle models currently on offer, electrification remains a challenge for heavy trucks of more than 26 tons with very long daily trips.«

Sven Wallisch, Head of the REWE Group’s Eastern Region Transport Logistics, emphasizes: »We originally planned purely theoretical support for the project, but now we are already moving towards implementation. Responsibility begins with action.«

Jekaterina Boening, who heads Energy, Climate, Fuels at T&E Germany, comments: »The results of our cooperation project speak for themselves. Electrifying freight transport is possible and promises companies economic benefits. The next German federal government must not let itself be distracted by pseudo-solutions such as biofuels, e-fuels or gas trucks, because this would be a waste of time and money. An ambitious e-truck program must be part of the coalition agreement.«

It can already make sense to convert the truck fleet today

One recommendation of the study is that truck operators should already consider converting their fleet of trucks for urban and regional deliveries today due to the high degree of substitutability and possible cost advantages. Current subsidies of 80 percent of the additional costs for vehicles and infrastructure and the increasing CO2 price on diesel or a corresponding CO2-dependent toll mean that truck operators could not only save costs, but also gather valuable experience with the upcoming conversion to zero-emission truck drives. This would give them the edge over other fleet operators in terms of knowledge, which could give them an important competitive advantage in future.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI analyzes the origins and impacts of innovations. We research the short- and long-term developments of innovation processes and the impacts of new technologies and services on society. On this basis, we are able to provide our clients from industry, politics and science with recommendations for action and perspectives for key decisions. Our expertise is founded on our scientific competence as well as an interdisciplinary and systemic research approach.

Last modified: