The electric vehicle charging infrastructure landscape in Europe is undergoing a significant transformation. With a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 67 percent, the total number of dedicated charging points is set to surge from 6,400 in 2022 to a staggering 390,000 by 2030.

However, the current state of charging infrastructure for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in Europe is still in its infancy. Key highlights include the anticipation of growing the small base of public charging stations to 72,500 by 2030, signifying a multi-decade development phase.

Notable companies like CPO Milence, Aral Pulse, Circle K, EnBW, and Rifle are actively participating in heavy commercial vehicle charging initiatives. The European Union’s commitment to a fast-charging network for trucks and the substantial investment requirement of €240 billion by 2030 underscores the pivotal role of coordinated efforts between various stakeholders.

Efforts to establish successful charging infrastructure for HGVs are directed towards integrating charging points at terminals, ports, warehouses, and interconnected cities, aligning with the operational patterns of trucks. 

This strategic approach promises to reshape the landscape of heavy electric truck charging in Europe, ensuring efficient and sustainable decarbonisation of road freight transport.

About the new open-source tool

In this evolving landscape, Amazon has taken a giant stride towards revolutionising the electric vehicle charging infrastructure. On September 12, the platform introduced a pioneering open-source solution, CHALET, designed to address a crucial issue at the core of the transportation industry’s decarbonisation journey.

CHALET, an acronym for Charging Location for Electric Trucks, is providing a powerful tool not only for private industry but also for governments, electricity network operators, and local authorities. Crafted over 18 months, it is now accessible as open-source code, extending its utility to private industry, governments, electricity network operators, and local authorities.

CHALET focuses on solving the critical challenge of strategically planning electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the transportation sector. It operates through FICO Xpress Optimisation, specialising in solving integer programs.

To set up CHALET, the code repository must be cloned from the GitHub page. The tool runs using the “chalet” command, with default expectations for input data in a “data/” folder and output data in “output/” within the root directory. However, customisation of input and output file paths is possible.

Amazon’s CHALET tackles the challenges of HGV charging infrastructures head-on by enabling transportation and logistics operators to input specific fulfilment network locations, routes, and critical parameters such as vehicle battery capacity, range, and transit time. CHALET considers all these variables and delivers a prioritised list of optimal charging locations.

“Middle mile electrification in Europe will not scale until efficient and convenient charging infrastructure is put in place,” Andreas Marschner, Amazon Transportation Services Vice President, said. 

“Our teams have built an effective, science-based tool, and we’re open-sourcing the code to help all companies, big and small, make more strategic electrification decisions.”

Support from other companies

Transportation is responsible for a substantial 22 percent of the European Union’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Electrification represents a promising avenue for reducing these emissions, but the growth of public electric charging infrastructure needs to catch up to the escalating demand from both the public and private sectors.

A primary challenge lies in identifying the most strategic locations that can maximise utility across a broad spectrum of public and private industries while supporting the busiest cross-continent logistics routes. Various companies involved in improving HVG charging infrastructure have openly shared their support of Amazon’s CHALET.

One, such as Eurelectric, along with other industry groups, even actively encourages its members to join in. Increased industry participation directly enhances the accuracy of the map, aligning it with real-world industry requirements.

Rik Arends, the Director of the SFBA at Smart Freight Centre, emphasised the significance of tools like CHALET in expediting the electric truck adoption process.

“We’re calling on the industry to provide input to the tool to map the industry’s needs,” Arends said. “Identifying locations to install charging infrastructure will play a key role in emissions reduction.”

Kristian Ruby, the Secretary General of Eurelectric, also noted that the ongoing expansion of charging infrastructure in Europe presents a significant opportunity for advancing the decarbonisation of the transportation sector. He emphasised the importance of input and advice from fleet operators to pinpoint optimal charging locations as both energy companies and authorities work to meet the increasing demand for charging. Ruby found the CHALET tool developed by Amazon to be an intriguing addition to this endeavour.

Furthermore, Chief Executive of Logistics UK David Wells OBE expressed the organisation’s endorsement of a national logistics network supported by the necessary energy infrastructure for all freight transport modes.

“CHALET has the potential to enable the right planning and energy decisions by the Government and the investment needed to deliver zero carbon logistics at pace and in the most cost-effective way for logistics customers and the economy,” Wells said. “Evidence from this tool should also inform important decisions regarding driver welfare facilities and rest stops.”

Amazon’s venture into electrification

Amazon is active in electrification, showcasing its commitment to sustainability and carbon neutrality by 2040. In 2022, the company initiated the deployment of fully electric 40-ton trucks in Europe and the UK, marking a significant step in expanding its zero-emissions fleet.

Furthermore, Amazon has unveiled plans to invest over €1 billion within the next five years, significantly enlarging its European fleet. This expansion encompasses a substantial increase in electric HGVs, electric delivery vans, and the essential charging infrastructure to facilitate their operation.

In addition to its internal efforts, Amazon advocates for a robust European regulatory framework for reducing truck emissions. This includes advocating for stricter CO2 standards for heavy-goods vehicles, aiming to achieve a minimum 50 percent reduction by 2030 and an impressive 90 percent reduction by 2040.

As the first signatory of the Climate Pledge, Amazon leads the charge towards a net-zero carbon future by 2040, an entire decade ahead of the Paris Agreement’s timeline. This active commitment underscores Amazon’s dedication to environmental sustainability and the global fight against climate change.