Operator trials of prototype DAF CF Electric trucks have seen the 4×2 distribution artics travel a total of 150,000 km in their first year of operation, and the vehicle is now entering limited production for selected markets.
DAF marketing and sales director Richard Zink said: “We have now reached the point where we can start to sell the CF Electric in limited numbers. Think of a few dozen units on an annual basis. In order to guarantee excellent 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.”
The use of the CF Electric has helped define the business case for electric trucks and what it means in daily practice. Where in the first few weeks, they only used a limited part of their CF Electric’s 100-kilometre range, some transport operators now cover around 250 kilometres a day with the vehicle.
Richard Zink said: “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.
DAF customers Jumbo, Simon Loos and Tinie Manders Transport from the Netherlands and Rhenus Group from Germany each have a CF Electric in their fleet. 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. Most journeys are short trips in the Eindhoven region.
“The CF Electric is as reliable as any other DAF truck,” said 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.”
DAF and powertrain provider VDL Groep are now to produce four fully electric, three-axle CF Electric refuse collection trucks for operational trials in the zero-emissions collection of urban waste.