Allego to roll out truck charging in 2024
Dutch firm is encouraged by pilot results but 300kW charger protypes suggest network may target mid-sized freight
Netherlands-based pan-European charging provider Allego will introduce ultra-fast charging to its network beginning in 2024 following positive results from an initial pilot phase of the chargers.
Allego reports that its pilot high-powered truck charging site returned a 22pc utilisation rate in its first five weeks of operation. The site, run jointly with logistics firm Sogaris in Rungis in France, features two 300kW charger prototypes developed jointly with Sogaris, as well as a 22kW charger, and opened in early October.
The project was Allego’s first venture into commercial vehicle or super-fast charging.
The company is encouraged by preliminary results, saying that “we have been working to integrate truck charging into our portfolio and while these numbers are in the early stages, the initial results indicate that the industry is ready”.
It is undoubtedly a small sample of data on which to base a continent-wide rollout strategy, especially amidst continuing uncertainty around the status of the Megawatt Charging System (MCS) as industry alliance Charin seeks to get the protocol approved by standards and compliance bodies.
Moreover, 300kW charging such as Allego’s prototypes are not optimised for the largest freight vehicles, whose batteries benefit from speeds approaching 1MW in order to charge within mandated driver break times in order not to generate further downtime for vehicles during fleet operations.
The Tesla Semi, for example, a large class eight truck, has a battery capacity of around 900kWh. This means that DC charging at 300kW would take three hours or more to charge the truck fully, albeit freight trucks will rarely if ever need to charge from near empty state of charge during delivery journeys.
“Long distance [haulage] needs these 1MW+ chargers, because the business case is fine if you can recharge while the driver has his break time,” Charin chairman Claas Bracklo recently told EV inFocus. Allego says that the prototype chargers allowed vehicles to charge in around 30 minutes, suggesting customer vehicles in the trial were smaller trucks.
Allego has not confirmed plans to build higher capacity chargers. But even without them, there is a business case to roll out 300kW chargers for smaller electric freight vehicles or at depots where stoppages are typically longer for large trucks.
“The success of this initial pilot phase validates the concept of dedicated Allego high-powered truck and light duty vehicle charging stations, enabling a 2024 rollout of first commercial ultra-fast truck charging stations in Europe,” the firm says. Its findings “validate the industry's need for efficient truck charging infrastructure and highlights Allego's ability to deliver effective ultra-fast solutions for the growing electric truck industry”.
The planned fast-charging network will supplement Allego’s 34,00 existing charging ports across Europe.