Speech to be delivered by the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, at the media presentation of VDL/DAF’s e-truck, 16 May 2018

This truck is in one word e stonishing stated Dutch minister Van Nieuwenhuizen at the launch of the new electric truck of VDL Group and DAF Trucks NV, May 16, 2018

Ladies and gentlemen,

It’s a privilege to be here today at the launch of VDL and DAF’s electric truck.
To me, it feels like a return to my…childhood.
I can see the confused looks on your faces.
What on earth does she mean…an electric truck, a return to her childhood…?

What you don’t know is that I was born above a garage in the town of Ridderkerk.
Not far from Rotterdam.
Many of the cars brought to the garage were DAFs.
I assure you, I’m certainly not trying to suggest that they were always breaking down.
I think that my warm relations with the transport sector probably started there.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Our economy is booming again.
That’s good news for many people and businesses.
But economic growth also increases our transport needs.
Our world-class infrastructure is at risk of gridlock.

So I’m investing in new roads and in widening existing roads.
Here in North Brabant, too, of course, since the province is vital for our economy.
We’re working on the A27 and A2 motorways, and on widening the A58.
Strong international competitiveness,
a healthy business climate and
easy access are essential for this region’s leading position.

We’ll also have to use our existing infrastructure more safe and efficiently.
For example, by travelling more outside the rush hour, or leaving rush-hour lanes open for longer.
So I’m not only investing in more roads.
But also in smart measures.
I’m working by example in partnership with the region, in the SmartwayZ programme.

We also have to explore new vehicle technologies that issue real-time in-car warnings about traffic jams.
Technologies that are being developed and tested here in this region on the Automotive Campus.
I visited the Campus not long ago.
That was a truly inspiring experience.

But preventing our economy from grinding to a halt isn’t our only aim.
We have another, equally important job to do: to ensure cleaner air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The transport sector is responsible for thirty per cent of the world’s carbon emissions.
So our ships, planes and heavy goods vehicles need to be cleaner and more fuel-efficient.
We need innovation and breakthrough technologies.

In short, I’m aiming for
zero delays
zero traffic-accident victims, and
zero transport emissions.

Industry is very much aware that there is a strong business case for making vehicles that run on a battery or hydrogen fuel cell, and developing other, cleaner fuels.
That’s the direction we need to move in for a strong, healthy transport sector.
For a future that begins today.
And I mean that literally, because today VDL and DAF present their first electric truck.

The development of smart, clean technologies is leading to a new, worldwide playing field in the transport sector.
One with many opportunities.
For VDL, which identified market opportunities for electric buses, for DAF, and
for Brainport Brabant with its many startups.

I’d like you to know that I’m really proud of you today.
The transport and mobility sector will need to undergo a transition in the years ahead.

Two of North Brabant’s top manufacturing companies – jewels in the region’s crown – have joined forces and seized the opportunities this presents.
DAF as the European market leader in truck manufacturing.
And VDL as the European market leader in electric heavy goods vehicles.

Today you’re presenting your electric truck.
It’s Made in Holland.
Just like the one hundred electric buses made by VDL that recently came into service in the Amsterdam region:
the biggest zero-emission bus fleet in Europe.

An innovation like the e-truck is important for several reasons.
It means cleaner air and less noise.
And that’s certainly good news for the air quality in our cities.
But it also shows that green investment is a driver of job creation.
That’s why more and more manufacturers are taking the green route.

Electric vehicles are the new reality.
And that’s a much-needed and irreversible trend.

Ladies and gentlemen,
My aim is to keep our transport sector at full strength in the coming years.
An innovation like this truck fits seamlessly with this aim.
Just like better road safety and working conditions for drivers.
And of course a level playing field for businesses and employees.

Let me conclude.
I want to congratulate DAF and VDL on the launch of this e-truck.
It’s a fantastic product.
A great feat of innovation.
Simply ‘e-stonishing’.
This truck can help the national and international transport sector make the transition to clean, zero-emission transport.
And it will make a major contribution to both a strong transport sector and a competitive manufacturing industry.
Both now and in the future.
Thank you!