Herko starts up in Vizcaya with its new sustainable truck

FIRST IN EUROPE/ Assembles LPGbased industrial vehicles; and already has orders from Urbaser and Cepsa.

Marián Fuentes. Bilbao

The engine company Begas and the Leciñena trailers group have joined forces with the CDTI, the Basque civil servants' mutual Itzarri, the Easo funds, Full Global Investments (FGI) and Seed (dependent on the Vizcaya Provincial Council) to start up the new Herko truck manufacturer, which will be the first in Europe in industrial vehicles powered by bioautogas or bio LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), from the recycling of organic matter. This alternative fuel is "sustainable, cost-effective and available"; it has practically no carbon footprint, and the EU recognizes it as a key energy vector for decarbonization objectives, according to the company.

The new company will be located in Zierbena (Vizcaya) and will start serial production within 9 months. The BIOS 35, a zero net emissions truck that will reduce noise pollution by half, will come out of this location and is designed for inter-city transport, last mile logistics, and urban services such as garbage collection, street cleaning and maintenance.

Herko already has "strategic suppliers", according to its managers. The engine will be from Begas; the chassis, from Leciñena; the automatic gearbox, from ZF; and the stability system, ABS and EPS, from Bosch.

Orders

The current shareholders plan to launch a new round of financing to bring in other partners and expand their resources. In total, they are considering an initial investment of 15 million euros.

Herko currently has 30 orders from companies such as Urbaser and Cepsa, which will be delivered starting in June, and letters of interest for another 650 vehicles from logistics and urban services companies. The company plans to manufacture more than 1,000 units in three years: 130 this year; 300 in 2024 and 640 in 2025.

During this time, turnover will be around 28 million euros. In its first years of activity, the company will create 70 direct jobs and some 150 indirect jobs.

BIOAUTOGAS

Herko has joined the strategic agreement led by Cepsa to promote the use of bioautogas in professional urban transport vehicles. Car manufacturers and fleet management companies have joined the agreement.

Autonomy

The new BIOS 35 truck will be able to circulate without restrictions in low-emission zones in city centers and travel 800 kilometers without refueling, 50% more than electric vehicles. In addition to bioautogas, it will be able to use LPG without the need to adapt the engine.

Herko's managers highlight the advantages of their bioautogas truck in relation to similar electric vehicles. According to them, the price will be 30% cheaper, and its payload capacity - 1.5 tons - will be double. It will have an average durability of 14 years and will only require a type B license to drive, since its maximum authorized mass (MMA) will be less than 3.5 tons.

In the company's opinion, the industrial vehicle model to be produced represents a market opportunity, since of the 8,000 trucks in this segment registered in Spain, only 103 - barely 1% - use alternative energies, while in the urban bus sector this percentage rises to 80%. "There is a lack of models for this type of vehicles, and we aspire to become a reference in sustainable mobility within the energy transition process", conclude Herko's managers.

Series production will start in September, and in three years it will manufacture more than 1,000 vehicles.

Euskadi to host Spain's first bioautogas truck factory

The facilities, which will be ready in autumn, will be located in Bizkaia with a construction capacity of up to 3,000 units.

The Basque company Herko Truck will start up next autumn the first factory in Spain for auto-biogas trucks. The facilities will be located in the Biscayan town of Zierbena and will deal with the complete assembly of the engine, chassis and finishes of a vehicle intended for the transport of goods between nearby cities, 'last mile', as well as being adaptable for service uses such as sweepers or waste collection.

The work, which will be presented today by company officials, is already underway with the objective of having the automated assembly line in operation next fall, employing 70 people and with a manufacturing capacity of 3,000 units per year.

Herko Truck was born as a new business division driven by two companies: Begas, manufacturer of alternative energy engines and with a plant in Amorebieta and Leciñena, a company specialized in the construction of truck trailers and chassis structures based in Zaragoza. The engine developed by Begas was approved last October 12 by the European Union and, as explained to EL CORREO by the company's general manager, Agustín Canales, presents an "efficient, cheap and sustainable" alternative, which makes it of key importance at this time. Thus, he points out, "the problem will not be to find orders, but to see how we can meet all the demand". Leal explains that the autobiogas obtained from the recycling of organic materials is a fuel that has already been approved for vehicles both by the DGT, with the 'ECO' certificate, and by the European Union, with the 'Euro VI Step E', the strictest in the limitation of gas emissions. It is therefore a more accessible reality "because it has 860 refueling points in Spain".

The engine of the 'Herko Bios 35', the first truck to be produced at the Basque plant, will have a range of 800 kilometers, enabling it to provide a service beyond the so-called 'last mile'. The general manager of the company explains that the natural market for its production will be the delivery companies and the cleaning and citizen services companies that are awarded contracts by the local councils.

This same month, Cepsa signed an agreement with Herko and other companies in the sector to promote the use of autobiogas in professional urban transport vehicles.

The factory, in addition to Begas and Leciñena, is participated by the investment funds Easo Ventures, participated by the Basque businessman José Poza, and Full Global Investments. In addition, the Basque Government has participated through the capital of ESPV Itzarri and the Provincial Council of Bizkaia with its venture capital tool 'Seed Capital Bizkaia'.

The plant has been awarded 900,000 euros by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, through the CDTI, as part of the 'Innvierte' program.

Agustín Leal, General Manager of Herko Truck. E. C.