E-mobility at TGW Logistics Group
Interview with Melanie Preinfalk and Christoph Rafbauer: “We are open to electric mobility and its opportunities”.
Mobility is undergoing radical change. A clear trend that has been emerging for some years now in this context is an increased demand for alternative drive systems. Not only private individuals, but also more and more companies are opting for e-mobility on account of its more environmentally friendly mode of transport, decreasing CO2 ceilings and fluctuating fuel prices.
One company setting a good example is TGW Logistics Group. As one of the leading providers of intralogistics solutions, TGW has branches in Europe, China and the USA and employs more than 3,500 people worldwide, around half of whom work at its two Austrian locations in Marchtrenk and Wels. TGW is now breaking new ground for its fleet of around 250 vehicles. For more than a year, electric cars have been augmenting its fleet.
In an interview with Melanie Preinfalk, manager of Strategic Projects and responsible for electromobility projects, and Christoph Rafbauer, head of Group Purchasing, we asked them about their experience with the alternative drive concept.
Since when have you been adding e-vehicles to your fleet? What were the reasons for taking that step?
Christoph Rafbauer: We decided in July of 2018 to integrate e-cars into our fleet. The concept of sustainability played an important role in the process. In particular, electromobility makes it possible to cover short distances in the vicinity of TGW’s two sites in Wels and Marchtrenk in an environmentally friendly and economical manner. The TGW fleet is currently augmented by nine electric vehicles. They are used by employees from various departments and areas – right up to members of the executive board. In addition to the BMW i3, the TGW fleet also includes the e-Golf and the Audi e-tron.
How are the e-vehicles used in your fleet?
Melanie Preinfalk: We use e-vehicles as pool cars as well as personal vehicles. The feedback from our employees is consistently positive. In addition, we are working on various activities to bring electric mobility home to our people and reduce reservations. In a raffle, for example, TGW employees can win a BMW i3 for an entire weekend and obtain experience with it. Interest is high among our staff.
How do you charge your e-vehicles? Do you have your own charging stations on your company premises?
Melanie Preinfalk: We have set up charging infrastructure at our locations in Marchtrenk and Wels in recent months. A total of 14 charging stations are available. At our headquarters in Marchtrenk, we use a photovoltaic system to generate energy. This enables us to produce almost a quarter of the electricity required each year ourselves in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way – and to use it directly in production, in our offices and for charging our e-vehicles.
Do you intend to further expand your e-fleet?
Christoph Rafbauer: We are open to electromobility and the opportunities it offers – even if there are still some aspects such as range that are currently holding back development. Our staff can opt for an e-car as their personal motor vehicle if it matches their usage profile. We are currently gathering experience with our pool vehicles. Being a successful company, we are growing strongly – which means an increasing demand for vehicles. For that reason, we are evaluating the possibilities offered by electric mobility just as intensively as we are doing other alternative drive concepts, such as hybrid drives.
What advice would you give to other companies considering switching to e-vehicles? What are the advantages and disadvantages compared to conventional drive systems?
Melanie Preinfalk: You need to take a close look at individual driving profiles before making a decision. Electric vehicles clearly have their strengths in urban and suburban areas and over short-haul routes. That’s where they can play out their advantages. Range, of course, plays a key role in this consideration. The technology is currently not yet suitable for long-haul journeys that are difficult to plan, such as in sales and for service technicians. In addition, you have to clarify in advance whether the appropriate charging infrastructure can be set up on your company premises and also take the time and cost for charging into account. In the case of personal vehicles, currently valid tax regulations provide staff with benefits in the form of non-cash benefits.
What is your conclusion thus far?
Melanie Preinfalk: In recent months we have learned a lot about electromobility and gathered valuable experience. Even though we approached the matter very systematically and in a structured way, there have been a few surprises. The issue of range as well as charging infrastructure are undoubtedly key factors for the success of e-mobility. Otherwise, it is important to be open-minded, to make deliberate use of the advantages of the concept and to learn and grow while dealing with the topic.
You can find out more about TGW Logistics Group here: https://www.tgw-group.com/de/
We have compiled even more information on the issue of e-mobility and how to integrate it into your fleet in our White Paper.