The EU’s recent decision to ban fossil fuel-powered vehicles in Europe by 2035 has pushed emergency services, including police, ambulance, and fire brigade, to transition to EVs. While the move is a positive thing, concerns arise regarding the challenges faced by heavy trucks, which require large batteries and extended charging times.
Efforts to find alternative solutions are underway, with considerations being made for hydrogen-powered vehicles, among other possibilities. In Stockholm, an ambulance company has already taken a step forward by testing an electric ambulance. The result was a success in the relatively shorter distances within the city.
However, the feasibility of such vehicles in regions with longer distances, like northern Sweden, especially during harsh winter conditions, remains uncertain. The fire service, which relies heavily on lorries, may also encounter challenges if no exceptions are made regarding combustion engines. Some discussions have already highlighted the potential of e-fuels or synthetic fuels as alternatives for existing combustion engine vehicles.
According to the plan proposed by the European Commission, new cars with combustion engines that use climate-neutral e-fuels may still be sold even after 2035. Automotive News reported that the vehicles will need a special mechanism that prevents the engine from starting if the fuel is not carbon-neutral to ensure these cars are environmentally friendly.
The authority for public safety and preparedness, responsible for Sweden’s fire service, believes that alternative fuels will likely play a significant role in the future. Marcus Vilhelmsson, the unit manager for fire and rescue, emphasized the significance of creating a sustainable and resilient society for the future.
In an email to Teknikens Värld, he said that it might not be the case in the future for all emergency vehicles used in socially critical operations to rely on traditional fuel as they do today.
“The fuel depots that existed in the old total defense system no longer exist. This is one of the challenges for the new total defense, to build a sustainable and resilient society,” Vilhelmsson said.
Vilhelmsson further envisioned a future where the rescue service could become self-sufficient. In this scenario, besides maintaining stocks of diesel and biofuel, they would also have the capacity to produce their own hydrogen.
This hydrogen, in conjunction with electricity generated from solar and wind sources, could be used to charge fuel cells and batteries in their vehicles and equipment. This approach aims to enhance the overall sustainability and resilience of emergency response systems in the future.
As for the police, they have not provided a definitive response regarding the future of their vehicles. However, the press department said in an email that the police authority is closely monitoring the automotive industry’s shift towards electric powertrains.
The police are also in close communication with their vehicle suppliers on this matter and keeping a close eye on the political decisions within the EU concerning electric vehicles.
In a proactive move, the Swedish Police Authority has initiated a larger investigation into the feasibility of introducing plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles within their fleet. This investigation commenced in 2023 and is set to continue.
The Police Authority expects to provide a more comprehensive result and additional information on this initiative in the first half of 2024.
Scania’s Q2 Performance Highlights EV Growth
Sweden’s overall transition to electric vehicles, on the other hand, is going relatively smoothly. This advancement can be seen in Scania, the leading provider of trucks and buses.
Scania reported a robust performance in the second quarter, achieving higher delivery volumes and notable growth in the service sector. The company’s net sales soared by an impressive 36 percent, reaching SEK 51.0 billion.
With an adjusted operating income of SEK 7.0 billion, the adjusted operating margin climbed to 13.6 percent. It marks a significant improvement from the previous 7.6 percent.
The positive impact on the operating margin came from increased volumes, favorable pricing, an enhanced product mix, and favorable currency effects. However, these gains were partly offset by higher input costs.
Despite the challenging business climate, Scania managed to maintain demand for its products and services at a high level throughout the second quarter. This impressive performance is especially noteworthy given the ongoing supply chain disruptions that continue to impact operations.
Christian Levin, the CEO of Scania, expressed satisfaction with the company’s strong performance. He highlighted the increased delivery volumes and service business as contributing factors to the record-adjusted operating income of SEK 7.0 billion.
According to Levin, while some markets have shown slightly lower activity, Scania’s trucks continue to enjoy robust demand in key markets. The company’s updated strategy for the bus business received a positive response from customers and partners.
An important milestone during the second quarter was Scania’s collaboration with Northvolt to present a jointly developed battery cell for heavy electrified vehicles. The upcoming inauguration of Scania’s new battery factory in Södertälje later this year is also expected to be a significant event, as it will assemble battery cells into packs for Scania’s new electrified truck models.
Key figures from Scania’s second quarter include a remarkable 36 percent increase in net sales, reaching SEK 51.0 billion. The adjusted operating margin surged to 13.6 percent, a notable improvement compared to the previous quarter’s 7.6 percent.
Scania’s deliveries also saw an 18 percent rise, totaling 23,824 vehicles, and Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) deliveries increased by 9 percent to 71 units. The service business experienced a growth of 13 percent, adjusted for currency effects.
The company’s order intake also displayed a positive trend, increasing by 9 percent to 19,780 vehicles.
Electric Cars Surpass Diesel and Gasoline in Popularity
In a recent report, electric cars have surpassed both diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles in popularity. The shift to EVs began two years ago when electric cars overtook diesel vehicles. They also surpassed gasoline-powered cars just a year later.
Since then, electric cars have consistently held the top spot as the most preferred type of car in the country. Monthly reports by Trafikanalys, which track the registration of new vehicles based on their fuel type, for instance, highlight a continuous increase in electrification, with both petrol and diesel cars experiencing a decline in market share.
The figures for June 2023 illustrate the electric car’s dominance, with a total of 11,005 new electric car registrations. In contrast, gasoline cars recorded 6,895 registrations, and plug-in hybrids accounted for 5,806 new registrations during the same period.
According to news media outlet Allt om Elbil, the momentum of electric vehicle adoption in Sweden is expected to persist. Any temporary dips in sales are predicted to be short-lived. By 2025, the electric car market is anticipated to pick up speed once again.