Reading between the lines of the 1200 mile EV Rally that DAF participated in with Cenex, the sustainable transport research technology organisation, it was clear that charging en route was the largest issue for the 19 tonne DAF LF that took part.

Of course, there are rapid car charging points available, most with suitable connection types for the trucks, but as an electric car owner since 2019, I can confirm that these are still typically at the back of car parks in the motorway service areas. It is difficult to access them with a car on occasions, so no chance whatsoever with a truck of any size. Although DAF did not reveal how and where the truck was charged, their review seemed full of criticism of the lack of publicly available charging points suitable for trucks.

The EV Rally

EV Rally ‘23 started in Cardiff on July 3rd before heading to London, Edinburgh, Belfast before finishing five days later in Dublin. The event drew participation from numerous teams associated with the sector driving a total of over 50 including cars, vans and trucks.

The event was designed to demonstrate the capabilities of EVs and several clean energy projects from stakeholders keen to showcase their low-carbon credentials. According to DAF, “EV Rally ’23 also highlighted the importance of a publicly accessible charging infrastructure able to accommodate larger vehicles including HGVs.”

Team DAF-Cenex reports that the 19-tonne LF Electric performed with 100% reliability, with trade press journalists, among others, taking turns at the wheel and agreeing with the vehicle’s simple driving characteristics. The Team DAF-Cenex LF Electric was equipped with a PACCAR box-body, with both the truck and body designed and manufactured in Britain at Leyland Trucks in Lancashire.

Team DAF-Cenex entered the EV Rally 2023 with a 19-tonne GVW DAF LF Electric seconded from the Battery Electric Truck Trial (BETT) – an 18-month fact-finding study into the efficacy of EVs in operation. The BETT includes 20 DAF LF Electric vehicles now in service with a range of public bodies including the NHS and Local Authorities. For the BETT, including live project data –

“EV Rally ’23 proved to be a superb way for the low-carbon industry to come together,” said Adam Bennett, EV & Sustainability Manager at DAF Trucks, “and we’re delighted that Team DAF-Cenex took the challenge in their stride, and that the LF Electric impressed everyone that took a turn in the cab. Key for me,” he said, “is that this event highlighted the clear and present need for a dedicated charging infrastructure for larger vehicles. Minor adjustments to existing charging points for cars would improve accessibility for trucks,” he added, “and this would certainly be an important first step, but it is not scalable. Only a dedicated infrastructure for trucks will have the desired impact upon the adoption of EVs among operators.”

Steve Carroll, Head of Transport at Cenex, said, “Cenex were very pleased to partner with DAF Trucks for the EV Rally. It was a great show case for the range of electric vehicle categories that are now available. The DAF LF Electric 19-tonners are performing well and meeting operator needs in the BETT where they are undertaking logistics operations in a variety of public sector organisations. The EV Rally gave us the chance to show the trucks are also capable of undertaking higher mileage daily operations – where they covered over 300 miles some days. The EV rally also played a valuable role in highlighting the need for public charging infrastructure to be deployed for larger vehicles, such as trucks, but also cars and vans that might be towing trailers and other loads.”

DAF Electric Angel of the North UK
“This event highlighted the clear and present need for a dedicated charging infrastructure for larger vehicles.”

Promoting findings from the Battery Electric Truck Trial

In June 2021, DAF Trucks was awarded funding under the SBRI ZE Road Freight Competition to deploy and undertake research on the performance of 20 DAF LF Electric trucks. Cenex, the non-profit research and consultancy organisation focused on low emission transport and associated energy infrastructure, partnered with DAF Trucks to lead the study aspects of the research.

A key focus of the research and study aspect was to develop a website tool to promote and educate fleet owners on electric truck adoption. This website is already helping highlight learnings from the trial to help remove barriers to adoption of electric trucks.