AFIR clears the road for zero-emission trucks
With the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) the EU has put forward the world’s most ambitious law for electric truck charging infrastructure. By 2030 at the latest, the EU’s main road network will be equipped with charging pools every 60 km, enabling electric trucks to operate between Talin and Lisbon just as their diesel predecessors do today. AFIR also guarantees a seamless network of hydrogen refuelling stations by 2030.
Europe will have enough public charging infrastructure available to significantly ramp up the supply of electric trucks. The AFIR provides enough charging energy and hydrogen capacity for 9% of the fleet to be zero-emission by 2030, which is equivalent to a -65% CO2 reduction target for truck manufacturers under the HDV CO2 standards review. This is considerably higher than the -45% target proposed by the Commission. It is therefore crucial to increase the target on vehicle manufacturers under the HDV CO2 standards to ensure that the infrastructure member states committed to build will be sufficiently used. That way we avoid unnecessary public subsidies and save taxpayers money.
Public vs. private charging
Most trucks in Europe drive less than 500 km a day and return to their depot overnight. For those trucks, private charging offers a number of distinct advantages. It will likely remain the cheapest option. Fleet operators can tailor their number of charging points to their number of trucks, ensuring optimal utilisation of each charging point. Private charging also typically occurs at slower charging speeds of 50-100 kW, which places less strain on the grid and thus requires a smaller sized grid connection. Most stakeholders therefore assume that charging will predominantly happen at private locations.
It is mostly the long-haul trucks, which operate for multiple days or weeks without returning to their depot, that will need public charging. While there is no clear consensus among stakeholders on the exact share, charging at public locations is expected to range between 10-40%. Truck drivers have to stop for 45 minutes every 4.5 hours because of the EU’s driving and rest time regulation. After a maximum daily driving period of 9 hours, an 11 hours rest period is required. These breaks and rest periods provide the ideal opportunity to charge the trucks along the highway, either fast during the day (opportunity charging) or longer overnight. For public Charge Point Operators (CPOs), utilisation needs to be at a certain level to make money.
What about the electricity grids?
Truck charging infrastructure, especially large public charging hubs where fast charging is needed, requires large grid connections and thus net capacity. Yet, this is both technically and economically feasible. However, as it requires significant lead time it is key that all stakeholders become active today.