European charging infrastructure JV to install 1700+ EV charging sites

By Becky Schultz08 July 2022

Volvo Group, Daimler Truck and the TRATON GROUP kick off European charging infrastructure joint venture

Nearly a year to the date after signing a non-binding cooperative agreement, the Volvo Group, Daimler Truck and the Traton Group announced they have completed the final step toward formation of a joint venture for charging infrastructure in Europe. The JV, led by Anja van Niersen as CEO, is expected to play a substantial role in supporting the European Union’ Green Deal for carbon-neutral freight transportation by 2050.

In the prior year’s announcement, issued on July 5, the intent to form the JV was presented as a means to address “the urgent need for a high-performance charging network to support truck operators with their transition to CO2-neutral transport solutions, especially in heavy-duty long-distance trucking.” It cited a May 2021 report by ACEA, the European automobile manufacturers’ association, calling for up to 15,000 high-performance public and destination charging points no later than 2025, and up to 50,000 high-performance charging points no later than 2030, to support growing industry demand.

At that time, Martin Lundstedt, president and CEO, Volvo Group, described the JV as “laying the necessary foundation in making a break-through for our customers to make the transformation to electrification by creating a European charging network leader.” Now, with announcement of the JV’s official formation, he calls it as “a long-awaited and major step toward achieving the required charging infrastructure for the roll-out and success of battery-electric long-haul trucks and coaches.”

“We are making what would be impossible for one actor alone to accomplish,” he said. “This strong partnership is a significant milestone and accelerator towards carbon-neutral transport in Europe by 2050.”

“When we talk to customers about electric trucks, they always ask: where can we charge?” Christian Levin, CEO, Traton Group, noted. “To support as fast as possible, we are teaming up from today on kick-starting the European charging network.”

The JV will encompass a 500 million Euro investment by the three companies to install and operate throughout Europe at least 1700 high-performance public charging points for battery electric heavy-duty long-haul trucks and coaches within five years of establishment of the JV. The green energy charge points will be situated on and close to highways and at logistics hubs, providing reliable and accessible charging stations for all battery electric heavy-duty fleet operators.

From left to right: Martin Daum, CEO, Daimler Truck; Christian Levin, CEO, Traton Group; Martin Lundstedt, president and CEO, Volvo Group

The JV will act as a charge point operator (CPO) by installing and managing the charging stations. It will be a self-standing legal entity based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and headed by van Niersen, who most recently served as CEO and later as chairman of the board of a major European electric vehicle charging network provider.

“With Anja van Niersen, this JV has a CEO with a great deal of experience in setting up charging networks,” Levin commented. “Anja and her team will support the important journey to enable further progress of sustainable transport.”

The three partners in the JV view its kick-start as a call to action to other industry players, as well as governments and policymakers, to work together toward a rapid expansion of the necessary charging network and to invest in the renewable energy needed to reach EU climate targets. The open access to all heavy commercial vehicles, regardless of brand, provides “a clear signal to all stakeholders.”

“We are very excited to kick off this new joint venture together with our partners. It is crucial that we are now taking the initiative for building up the much-needed charging network. Still, we call on the entire industry to join in our effort,” said Martin Daum, CEO, Daimler Truck. “The number of charge points has to increase significantly as fast as possible to make electric long-haul trucking a viable solution for our customers.”

The JV team plans to work quickly to scale up operations and network deployment of charging infrastructure. In addition, the team will work collaboratively across industries to design and build charging solutions that match the growing needs of transport companies and drivers.

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