Although the range of the electric trucks that VDL is going to build is ‘only’ 120 kilometers, they can also be interesting for Breytner – the zero-emission haulier from Rotterdam. “Our current trucks have a range of 175-225 kilometers depending on payload, which is more than sufficient. We also have shorter routes on which a truck with less range can also be used”, says managing director Jeroen Baartmans. Breytner hit the headlines recently because of the order for an electric truck with a range of 800 kilometers at Tesla. “We would like to be at the forefront of electric transport, and with this Tesla, we can.”

Breytner is a partner of VDL in the “H2Share” project, which focuses on the use of hydrogen as a fuel. “Most interesting to the collaboration with VDL is their experience in the field of buses and their scale, which means we can expect a more efficient production process and a more extensive service and after-sales network. From our joint H2Share project, we are close to all developments within VDL.”

Breytner is welcome to join VDL for the next order, Miel Timmers says: “Everyone is warmly invited to contact us.”

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Breytner wants to respond to the trend that more and more cities are imposing restrictions on access to their inner cities with the ultimate aim of only allowing vehicles without emissions. When you start up as a new company in road transport, it is important to know what the deployment time is of your company assets, so our vehicles. We have seen in Rotterdam that these developments can proceed very quickly, in the conclusion of the ‘s Gravendijkwal and the expansion of the environmental zone on the Maasvlakte. At our fellow transporters, we found that they saw this as a threat and that there was a wait-and-see attitude. We have actually seized it as an opportunity and started looking at what was already possible with the current state of the art, which led to the start of Breytner.”

For the time being, the Tesla Semi only exists on the drawing board. That was no objection to Baartmans. “We now have extensive experience with the use and performance of fully electric trucks. The current reputation of Tesla passenger cars and the specs of the Tesla Semi have been decisive for us to make this order. The performance in relation to the investment means that this truck can be competitive with diesel trucks. We understand that the expected delivery time is still some time ahead of us, but this gives us the opportunity to look at European specs together with Tesla.”

The 800-kilometer range, in particular, was the deciding factor for Breytner. “This means that with this truck we will also be able to cover so-called line-haul/feeder routes. And the short loading time ensures that we can use the truck in a 2-shift model for our employees.”

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