Electric Terminal Tractor Passes Practical Test

9th August 2023

Logistics BusinessElectric Terminal Tractor Passes Practical Test

The freight forwarding and logistics company, Duvenbeck, is taking another step towards switching its fleet to low-emission vehicles. The firm tested a fully electric terminal tractor unit at its business site in Rastatt in July this year. It was used to move uncoupled (semi-)trailers at the factory site of a vehicle manufacturer.

“The terminal tractor unit made by the Dutch manufacturer, Terberg, has completed its first operations in everyday service without causing any problems,” says Volker Mürb, the Duvenbeck Branch Manager in Rastatt, summarising the results. “The performance of the electric motor is in no way inferior to that of a diesel engine. It was easily possible to complete a day‘s shift without having to recharge the battery.”

Duvenbeck manages the trailer yard for a vehicle manufacturer. This involves a large-scale parking area where the truck trailers and swap bodies, which are full of components that have been supplied, are made available so that they can be driven to the relevant unloading points at the factory. Duvenbeck uses so-called handling vehicles for this purpose and operates ten of them at Rastatt. Duvenbeck completes several hundred handling movements there every day. Testing an emission-free electric variant forms part of the company’s response to the increasing calls for sustainability by customers in the automobile industry.

Duvenbeck and the customer will now examine whether the test should be turned into a long-term phase lasting one year. The company has used tractor units powered by a diesel engine to move the trailers up to now. The capacity of the battery of the Terberg YT203-EV electric variant, which has been tested, is 150 kilowatt hours (kWh) and the unit is roughly two-and-a-half times more expensive than the diesel version. It is also necessary to have the appropriate charging infrastructure. “Overall, any switch to electrically powered terminal tractor units would entail significant additional investments,” Mürb adds.

Duvenbeck has been working in the trailer yard management business in Rastatt for more than 25 years. Its services include coordinating and scheduling the incoming and outgoing truck trailers and swap bodies as well as opening, closing and making available the trailers, depending on the vehicle manufacturer’s needs and production procedures; Duvenbeck is also responsible for securing loads. Duvenbeck’s complete fleet includes 1,500 articulated units, consisting of a tractor unit and trailer, 3,500 trailers and 1,000 swap bodies. They are mainly used for customers operating in the automotive industry.