DB Schenker’s bid to Drive Forward Fully-Electric Trucks

DB Schenker is driving forward the use of fully-electric trucks. Picture: DB Schenker
DB Schenker recently became the first company to start testing Scania’s R 450e electric truck on a regular, long-distance basis in Sweden

The future is here – and it belongs to climate-friendly trucks. 

As a transportation and logistics trailblazer, DB Schenker is continuing to drive forward the use of fully-electric trucks and recently became the first company to start testing Scania’s R 450e electric truck on a regular, long-distance basis in Sweden. 

Tests have been taking place between Jönköping and Södertälje, a drive of approximately 300 kilometres (186 miles) taking around three hours. 

"For DB Schenker, the purpose is to test and gain experience of fully-electric heavy vehicles in long-distance regular traffic,” explains Anna Hagberg, the company’s Head of Network & Scheduled Services.

“The electrification of heavy vehicles plays a crucial role in our transition to carbon-neutral transport and, since heavy traffic accounts for the largest emissions for us, it’s incredibly important.”

Anna Hagberg, Head of Network & Scheduled Services at DB Schenker

DB Schenker: A sustainability leader

DB Schenker is part of the Deutsche Bahn Group, one of the world's biggest transportation and logistics companies. 

It was founded in 2002 through the merger of Schenker, a German logistics company, and Deutsche Bahn's logistics division. 

Over the years, DB Schenker has become something of a leader in sustainable logistics. The company says that, by 2030, it wants to achieve an external ESG validation that rates it among the top 5% of organisations.

Other priorities include:

  • Maintaining good governance practices
  • Ensuring employees receive the necessary compliance training
  • Ensuring suppliers adhere to the same values

Tackling long distance

While smaller e-trucks are already frequently used on short-haul routes, for example in distribution transport in cities, the use of zero-emission commercial vehicles with heavy loads remains a challenge. 

Long distances with heavy loads place higher demands on not only the trucks themselves but also the charging infrastructure.

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Attempting to find solutions in this space is the E-Charge project, which brings together 14 partners which are jointly developing and testing electric-battery, long-distance transportation. 

Tests are carried out in real truck operations in Sweden and adapted to each drivers' driving and rest times. After three years of preparation and research in the E-Charge project, DB Schenker is testing the e-truck in daily, long-distance transport operations.

As part of the E-Charge project, the fully-electric truck replaces a diesel-powered truck which transports goods between terminals in Jönköping and Södertälje in the evening and at night, before distributing them to customers during the day.

The seven batteries in Scania's R 450e have a capacity of 728 kilowatt hours. This has been increased in order to cover the distance without intermediate charging in Nordic weather conditions with a gross vehicle weight of 64 metric tons and a length of 24 metres. 

Charged using ABB E-mobile's high-power chargers at DB Schenker terminals, the R 450e truck is the first battery-electric long-haul truck from Scania with this driving range.

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