DAF CF truck © DAF

After 150,000 fully electric kilometres – almost four times around the earth – DAF CF Electric is ready for the next phase: selling it in limited numbers. The e-truck was named Green Truck Logistics Solution 2019 in June, an award for the deployment of promising, emerging technologies for innovative, sustainable logistics in Europe. More and more cities are planning to only allow emission-free and almost completely silent vehicles in their city centres in the near future; DAF expects to benefit from that.

A year ago, the first CF Electric was delivered and in the past period, DAF gained experience with in total six fully electric trucks. Among other things, this has resulted in a version that is internally referred to as ‘Phase 2’ and has a new generation of software and a new dashboard. “We have now reached the point where we can start to sell the CF Electric in limited numbers,” said Richard Zink, member of the Board of Management and responsible for Marketing & Sales. “Think of a few dozen units per year. In order to guarantee quality, we start up production in a controlled way. Simultaneously, we can thoroughly build up our service network, step-by-step.” The CF Electric tractor unit is now available for customers in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia. “Depending on the local battery charging infrastructure and after-sales possibilities, sales in other parts of Europe will be considered”, said Zink.

250 kilometres a day

The use of the CF Electric has helped customers to determine the business case of an electric truck and experience what its use means in daily practice. Where in the first few weeks, they only used a limited part of their CF Electric’s 100 kilometres of range, some transport operators now drive around 250 kilometres a day with the vehicle, said Zink. “It is a matter of planning your trips cleverly. The ability to quickly charge the batteries – with the right equipment fully charged in just over 30 minutes – means that additional kilometres are available quickly if required.”

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DAF customers Jumbo, Simon Loos and Tinie Manders Transport from the Netherlands and Rhenus Group from Germany all have a CF Electric in their fleet. Also at Tinie Manders, the electric truck is used very intensively: the tractor has already done more than 30,000 kilometres and runs seven days a week from six in the morning until midnight, DAF says. Most are short trips in the Eindhoven region.

“The CF Electric is as reliable as any other DAF truck”, says Eveline Manders, co-director of Tinie Manders Transport. “Planning and driving an electric truck requires a different mindset. You have to make sure that the route fits the truck – and not the other way around. Moreover, in order to optimally use the truck, it is important that you can charge the batteries during loading and unloading. If you take these two matters into account, the electric truck can be a great alternative for urban distribution.”

Recently, DAF and VDL Groep announced that four fully electric, three-axle CF Electric trucks will become operational, for the ‘zero emissions’ collection of residual products in urban areas.

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.