BMW has put an all-electric, 40-ton truck into regular service on the streets of Germany. The European auto manufacturer partnered with logistics company SCHERM to deploy the vehicle in Munich, where it will ferry car parts eight times a day between BMW's manufacturing plant and SCHERM's warehouses. The companies say the truck is the first of its kind to be used on public European roads, and will be charged exclusively with electricity from renewable resources.
The truck isn't built by BMW itself, but by Dutch manufacturer Teberg. The vehicle model — the Terberg YT202-EV — has only previously been used on closed roads such as ports, and BMW says introducing such a large electric vehicle to public roads is an important step forward for the technology. "With this project we will gain valuable information on what will be possible with electric trucks in the future for city logistics," said BMW's head of logistics Jürgen Maidl in a press statement.
The 40-ton electric truck with representatives of SCHERM and BMW. (BMW)
The manufacturer says the truck will save 11.8 tons of CO2 emissions annually compared to a diesel vehicle, and that it generates almost no fine particle pollution. The truck takes three to four hours to charge fully and has a range of up to 100 kilometers — enough to complete a full day's work without the need for additional recharging.
Although much of the excitement surrounding electric vehicles has been focused on consumer cars, some industry experts argue that it's in logistics where the technology could have its biggest impact. Earlier this year, Tesla co-founder Ian Wright said that family cars just don't burn enough fuel to make it economic to go electric at the moment.
trucks burn more fuel, so making them electric can save more money
"Family cars burn about 600 gallons a year," Wright, who heads a company retrofitting gas trucks with electric powertrains, told Quartz in February. "If you make that [car] electric you are going to add $15,000, at least, to the cost of that car and maybe only save $1,500 [in fuel]. So maybe a 10-year payback. If you go to garbage trucks they are burning maybe 14,000 gallons a year, so you can save $35,000 in fuel and $20,000 in maintenance." BMW is likely aware of these savings.