We are part of the eJIT research project

Around 70 percent of all goods are transported by truck. Innumerable trucks also drive to our customers Volkswagen and Porsche every day. The eJIT research project is working on making the local factory logistics of tomorrow electric.

The prototype of the fully electric truck

Less CO2, particulate matter, and noise

In order for thousands of vehicle parts from us and other suppliers to arrive just-in-time at the Zwickau Volkswagen factory, dozens of trucks complete more than 700 trips and around 15,000 kilometers every day. This has always meant a lot of CO2, particulate matter, and noise – until now. Together with the eJIT research project, the automobile manufacturers Volkswagen and Porsche have been testing one fully electric truck each in their plants in Zwickau and Leipzig since the middle of June. “Up to now many people have doubted whether 40 tons could be electrically driven,” said Porsche’s logistics manager, Michael Weihrauch, at the project presentation in Stollberg.

E-semi-trailer tractors with sufficient range

However, after more than two years of development work, the eJIT project is proving that just-in-time logistics traffic can also be battery driven and can be therefore considerably more environmentally friendly. The two electric semi-trailer tractors can pull 40 tons easily, reach speeds up to 85 km/h, and have a range of 70 kilometers. “Of course we cannot drive to Hamburg with this – however we do not actually want or need to do that,” said Andreas Wächtler from the network of Saxony automotive suppliers (AMZ), who, like us, is also one of the project partners. The typical distance is 25 kilometers. Both converted trucks are to be tested in practice and driven within the factory and on roads until the end of 2018. And this is where we come in. Schnellecke is providing the drivers who are testing the practical viability of the e-trucks in everyday use.

So that the juice does not run out

As well as the electric drive, the developers are also testing highly automated driving, Wächtler explained. For example, the Zwickau truck is supposed to be able to reverse into the loading bay and park automatically. During the roughly ten minutes while the truck is being unloaded or loaded, the battery is topped off. On the other hand, Porsche is testing multiple quick charges during one shift. “In the tight transport logistics we cannot allow ourselves charging times of several hours,” stressed Wächtler. The goal of the project is to achieve no restrictions compared to a traditional diesel truck. Furthermore, the economic efficiency is to be proven.

Both carmakers want to use the e-truck as standard in the medium-term. “We can see potential for 30 percent of our trucks,” said Thomas Lammer of Schnellecke. We are doing the project together with Volkswagen, Porsche, AMZ, and the development service provider IAV.

Everything for environmental protection

If the targeted climate protection goals in Germany are to be reached by 2050, it is impossible to ignore electric trucks, said Christian Liebich of the German Federal Ministry of Economics. The department is funding 40 percent of the project. Car traffic is currently responsible for around 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions – and the trend is rising.

The e-truck for the eJIT project was presented to the public in April at the Hanover Fair and immediately became a major attraction. This demonstrates to what extent the market is waiting for this development. Schnellecke is a permanent member of the project team and, among other things, provides the drivers for the test drives.