DAF celebrates a milestone of 150,000 electric kilometers (93,000 miles) covered by its test fleet of six CF Electric 4x2 tractors, used by several customers.
The most used vehicle covered 30,000 km (18,650 miles), which is not bad considering just 100 km (62 miles) of range, using the 170 kWh battery pack.
"150,000 fully electric kilometres - almost four times around the earth. That is the extensive practical experience that DAF has now gained with its CF Electric at several customers. The sophisticated vehicles with VDL E-power-technology are used on a daily basis by customers for the transport of for example food and containers."
Now, since the first year of pilot tests is complete, the company is starting limited sales of a few dozen units on an annual basis in Netherlands, Belgium and Germany's North Rhine-Westphalia.
"It is one year ago that the first CF Electric was delivered and in the past period DAF gained lots of 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.
Richard Zink, member of the Board of Management and responsible for Marketing & Sales 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 DAF CF Electric requires special treatment because the range is rather low. Real-world tests have shown that customers are required to plan the route/or select the right route for the EV truck.
On the other hand, the fast charging option in 30 minutes using 300 kW CCS Combo charger allows some customers to use the truck six days a week for 18 hours a day (including charging) and cover 250 km 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. "It is a matter of planning your trips cleverly," said Richard Zink. "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.
18 hours per day, 7 days a week
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. 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.""
Besides the CF Electric, in partnership with VDL (the bus manufacturer and supplier of battery/motor tech), DAF will introduce also four fully electric, three-axle CF Electric refuse collection trucks. That for sure would be another promising segment for electrification.
Gallery: DAF CF Electric
DAF CF Electric specs:
- Range of 100 km (62 miles)
- 170 kWh battery pack
- Electric motor: 210 kW (286 hp), 2,000 Nm continuous and 240 kW (326 hp) peak
- Fast charging in 30 minutes (at 300 kW)
- Full battery charge 1.5 hours
- Tractor weight 9,700 kg (gross weight of 37,000 kg)