Test first – procure last
The future will be emission-free. A series of tests of innovative vehicles run by the Swiss firm Camion Transport is based on this insight. Decisions are due in 2023.
A ‘green procurement plan’ is the magic phrase. This is at the core of a strategy that the transport and logistics company Camion Transport, headquartered in Wil (Switzerland), has adopted.
In order to successively make its transport operations emission-free, the company from eastern Switzerland has developed a specific programme. The milestones are emission-free delivery to city centres from 2025 onwards, and to urban regions from 2030. In intercity transport, the services provider wants to run the majority of its routes with zero-emission vehicles from 2040.
Spoilt for choice
Camion Transport, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary soon, wouldn’t be a typical Swiss company if it didn’t decide which metal horse to back in the future only after a thorough practical examination. The spirit of diversification additionally makes it clear that the company won’t focus on one single vehicle model alone, or indeed one alternative drive technology only.
Josef Jäger, the director of Camion Transport, explains that the range of test vehicles “extends from muscle-powered cargo e-bikes to heavy commercial vehicles, and consists of electric, fuel-cell electric and hybrid units.”
It goes without saying that each vehicle has its own strengths and radius of action. The areas of application must therefore be well chosen. Parallel to the new vehicles themselves, the company is also examining appropriate charging technologies and equipment, as well as suitable locations, for example for electric charging stations.
Specifically the all-electric Fuso eCanter, for example, has been in urban use in Switzerland in Lucerne, Basel and Geneva since February 2021. A pre-series model has been deployed on the pilot test runs. Hyundai Xcient fuel cell electric commercial vehicles are scheduled to cover longer distances daily, and an electric truck from the Swiss company E-Force One operates as a shuttle in western Switzerland. In addition to smaller vehicles for the delivery of small consignments, two electric DAF trucks will also be tested soon, amongst others.
The schedule has been set. Jäger said that “we’re giving ourselves until the end of 2022 to complete our in-depth analysis of the innovations needed for the fleet.” After that, the vehicles will be selected and the investment budget from 2023 onwards set. The market is bound to keep an eagle eye on this story.