Walkers deploys electric truck fleet on ‘golden logistics triangle’
Midlands-based crisp manufacturer Walkers is partnering with autonomous and electric freight company Einride to deploy a new fleet of connected electric trucks between its manufacturing sites in Leicester and Coventry.
The new fleet will be powered by an ecosystem of products, including Einride’s intelligent Saga platform, electric and autonomous fleets, charging infrastructure and connectivity networks.
According to the Swedish firm, it plans to establish a regional freight mobility grid along the M1, M5 and M6, between London, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol.
It added that the starting point would be the Midlands’ ‘golden logistics triangle,’ which lies within four hours’ drive of 90% of the British population and contains a significant share of the country’s logistics and warehousing facilities.
The Walkers brand will be Einride’s first commercial partnership following its expansion into Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway.
Over three years the 25 mile route is predicted to reduce the British food manufacturing giant’s carbon footprint by over 1,600 tonnes.
Head of sustainability at Walker’s parent company PepsiCo, Archana Jagannathan, heralded the partnership as a “small yet important step” on its journey towards net zero.
“With this initial deployment, we’re looking forward to better understanding the potential role electric trucks can play in our transport operations,” Jagannathan added.
Einride claims that the cargo mobility grid concept simplifies cargo management over long distances and removes inefficiencies that are otherwise typical for the industry, with smart handovers meaning goods don’t have to be delayed due to battery recharges or a change in driver, for instance.
In time, the Swedish company plans to establish a vast network of partners as it expands further into the UK and Ireland, connecting additional shippers and operators which will enable cost-efficient scaling of the grid together with increased emission savings.
Once a critical mass of transportation volumes is established, the expansion of the grid will be further supported by introducing human-led autonomous technologies such as Einride’s heavy duty, cables trucks, which are monitored by a remote operator.
According to Einride, each year, 1.4 billion tonnes of goods are transported around the UK by road, yet road haulage is responsible for over 20% of the country’s domestic carbon emissions.
For most enterprises, introducing new policies and piloting fleets is a good first step towards becoming electric, according to Andreea Nitica, fleet manager at Village Heating Ltd, who spoke on a panel at last year’s London’s EV Show.
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