Costs and effort enormous
Green Fantasialand or soon reality? This means the electrification of truck traffic
Marijan Murat/dpa/archive picture An employee of Daimler AG holds a charging plug on an electric charging station in his hand.
Site author Carl Christian Jancke
The traffic light coalition wants to elect the traffic – even with trucks. The transport lobby does not block itself, but soberly calculates what it needs – and who will ultimately pay for it: the end user in the supermarket.
With giant steps, commercial vehicle manufacturers prepare their electrification. Diesel trucks are said to give way to huge battery vehicles, billions of subsidies are distributed to this. But this can be implemented practically at all?The lobbying organization "Transport & Environment" In a case study, based on the logistics of the food dealer Rewe in northeast Germany, examined whether trucks expect electric drive. The ISI Fraunhofer Institute simulated 9500 “tours” to 543 supermarkets with 224 heavy trucks with a total weight of over 12 tons. The result has it all:
- Almost 80% of the traffic performance, which are provided by around 60% of the vehicles, cannot be carried out with electrical trucks.
- The remaining 40%, the vehicles listed, which only provide around 20% of the traffic performance, are only more economical because the Fraunhofer Institute takes into account the increasing CO2 price as well as subsidizing the additional costs for the purchase and operation of the truck. Increasing electricity costs are also not calculated.
Electric trucks currently make no sense in long-distance transport
In other words, the freight forwarders subsidize around 20% with increasing diesel prices and vehicle taxes with 80% of their traffic performance, which they can then operate electrically.
The result in the REWE example is nevertheless positive because the daily mileage in inner-city traffic under 200 km (Mariendorf) and 500 km in the country of the limited range of the heavy battery meets. After all, 58% of the vehicles and 25% of the mileage should be replaced by electric trucks in this scenario, according to the study.
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But such vehicles are not yet offered. The Fraunhofer researchers admit that large trailer trains and tractors, which distribute a lot of goods in the flat country and transport most goods on the longest tours, cannot be ordered even after the announcements of the truck producers in the future. This is due to the severity of the battery and the brevity of the range.
Emobility continues to be completely on the funding money drop
The “International Council of Clean Transportation” (ICCT) meanwhile adds “Transport & Environment”. According to the specialist magazine “KFZ Operation”, it states that heavy electrical trucks are already cheaper in the overall balance sheet than corresponding products with diesel. However, the ICCT provides too, that the current funding – consisting of purchase bonus, toll exemption and the liberation from the CO2 prize only enables this result. Otherwise, battery saddle tractors would not be superior until 2029.The forecast does not seem to be trusted, because the ICCT only recommends an increase in subsidies: instead of or as a supplement to the purchase bonus, there should be further driving current subsidization. The owners of diesel trucks should also pay an additional CO2 tax of 8-16 cents per kilometer via a euro vignette regulation of the EU. Of course, this will not pay the freighters, but the consumers at the supermarket fund.
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How climate-friendly are e-trucks?
The massive subsidy by taxpayers and consumers is justified with the supposed environmental friendliness of the e-trucks. But it probably doesn’t look as advantageous as suggested. The actual CO2 emissions also depend on the real electricity mix. The most important energy source in Germany is still coal; Because of the poor wind energy yield of the past few months. Regardless of whether the fossil energy is produced in Germany or bought from abroad, it will remain the most important pillar of the German power supply for a long time. As a precaution, the traffic light coalition has decided to replace coal and nuclear power plants with modern gas power plants, which can step in in the event of production fluctuations or dark downs.
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Heavy electric trucks wear out roads even faster
In addition, electric trucks do not override the laws of physics. The heavier the car, the heavier the battery and the more electricity is used. The lower the energy density, the less the truck can transport without exceeding its specific total weight. With the same energy content, the weight of today’s batteries is more than 60 than liquid hydrocarbons. Even if a reduction in factor of 40 could be reached in the future, the weight remains more than a burden, the movement of which not only reduces the payload, but also consumes a huge amount of electrical energy. And that means more energy consumption per transported ton with constant wear of the street infrastructure.The Federal Association of Gutkraftverkehr Logistik (BGL) E.V. calculated that 55 for the electrification of all road freight transport alone.244 wind turbines with conventional capacity would be required. That would mean a tripling of the previously installed service. This also requires electricity lines, distribution networks and a powerful charging infrastructure that minimizes the service life.
In the end, the consumer pays the colliery
To build the infrastructure, tons of concrete for the foundation of the wind turbines, steel for the masts and plastic are required for the wings. This strikes in the CO2 budget. In addition, only a third of the costs of market prices are achieved here. Two thirds have so far been financed by the EEG surcharge and should be paid through the state budget in the future. The one who pays the invoice in the end is the same: the citizen, whether the invoice at the petrol station, tax or government debt, which leads to a higher inflation and thus creeping income and asset devaluation.
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The freight transport association BGL shows no resistance against electrification. CEOs spokesman Dirk Engehlhardt, who can still be found occasionally in the cab of a truck, expressly committed to the goals of the national platform of the future of mobility, which was launched by the outgoing Federal Minister of Transport. According to this, local and regional traffic should be electrified from 2025 and from 2027, long-distance traffic is to be designed with fuel cells on hydrogen-free.So what does that mean?
- 500.000 trucks are approved in Germany, another 250.000 vehicles roll every day from other countries across the German roads.
- 90% of the vehicles approved here have the Euro 6 pollutant standard.
- A massive support program would be required for the desired switch to battery electromobility and/or hydrogen. That costs billions. There is still no infrastructure for both.
Relocation to rail as a better alternative?
In view of these quantities, reports also fade that Schenker, a subsidiary of the Deutsche Bahn State Group, recently ordered 1,500 electric trucks for regional and local distribution traffic.The practitioner Engelhardt points out that the relocation to the rail is not a way out: "The limited capacities also allow a single -digit percentage at best". The state has failed to invest and expand the infrastructure. Anyone who follows the drama that takes place in Germany when building new routes for the alpine crossing knows how long it takes to. The Austrians and Swiss did their tasks. The bottle neck exists in the supply to Upper Bavaria and South Baden.
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Better to use larger trucks than battery trucks
Engelhardt therefore advocates a pragmatic approach: “The Federal Institute for the Roads should examine how high the CO2 savings could be through the use of trucks with 5, 6 or 7 axes.”That would reduce emissions per tonne without increasing the wear on the streets and the strain on the bridges over a fee. Instead of the usual 40, 60 tons could drive through the country per truck. This would also relieve the transport infrastructure, produce less traffic jams and thus also reduce the environmental impact. "In Sweden and Norway you are not so scared," said Engelhardt. That would also defuse the problem of lacking the driver, which is spreading in the industry.
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Finally, the member companies would be asked to deliver with low-CO2 vehicles. Most clients do not want to pay the inevitable additional price: “The cheapest provider gets the contract."
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Otherwise, the “harvesting profound fruits” would be an alternative until the electrical structure for local transport and hydrogen technology would be available for long -distance transport. Synthetic fuels or organic fuel would be a sensible bridge technology after the BGL opinion. The energy import from safe states where green hydrogen is produced from renewable energies would be an alternative. Engelhardt advocates the corresponding production in Tunisia or Algeria, where the political conditions seem stable.And if that is not enough to meet the climate guidelines that the traffic light coalition made to the Germans? "The alternative is called a waiver of consumption," said the boss. After all, the organic lasagne would only come with the truck to the Alnatura supermarket.
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