HGVs currently make up 19% of the total domestic transport emissions in the UK. The sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned in 2030, with hybrids following suit in 2035. By 2040, this ban will be extended to include lorries.
Road freight is one of the most difficult parts of the transport economy to bring to net zero. It is a real challenge for technology to meet the long-haul requirements of HGVs, with difficulties such as the range required, the weight of the battery and suitable charging infrastructure.
So, are we ever going to have electric lorries?
Amazon's first ever electric HGVs
Amazon currently have over 1000 electric delivery vans in the UK and they recently announced the introduction of their first ever electric HGVs to be used at fulfilment centres in Tilbury and Milton Keynes.
The addition of 5 new 37-tonne HGVs will replace 100,000 diesel road miles each year, thereby saving 170 tonnes of C02e. Amazon aims to have 9 in action by the end of 2022 and they will be charged by 360kW charge points at their fulfilment sites.
Amazon's Investment Minister Lord Grimstone states, “the UK’s logistics sector continues to be at the forefront of efforts to electrify fleets and transition to zero emissions vehicles,” and that “Amazon’s introduction of its first-ever fully electric heavy goods vehicles in their UK fleet is fantastic news not only for their customers but for our wider efforts to end our contribution to climate change and transition to cleaner modes of transport.”
UK Government invests in overhead charging cable scheme for HGVs
One of the major barriers to the electrification of HGVs in the UK is the range and access to charging infrastructure.
Two years ago, £2 million of funding was given for a pilot scheme e-highway on the M180 near Scunthorpe. The designs were approved and a 41km stretch will be built between Doncaster and Immingham port in £100 million investment.
It will be a tram-style system of overhead wires that will automatically connect and disconnect to specific electric lorries as required. It is to be used in conjunction with workplace charge points.
Renault beats Tesla in the EV semitruck competition
30 electric trucks are to be used by Coca-Cola Europacific Partners in Belgium. Renault Trucks are in partnership with Coca-Cola to create the largest EV fleet of trucks in Belgium, reducing emissions by 75%.
Vice President for Belgium and Luxembourg, An Vermeulen, says, “Our industry is facing difficulties that require rapid adaptation, but we are also firmly committed to maintaining a long-term approach. Investing in electric trucks will allow Coca-Cola Europacific Partners to cut CO2 emissions by 30% across the entire value chain by 2030 and become climate neutral by 2040,”
They are starting on a local delivery level, progressing onto the remainder of the fleet.
Tesla unveils its EV semitruck to PepsiCo
In Nevada, Elon Musk unveiled Tesla's first ever EV semitruck to PepsiCo.
100 Class 8 trucks were ordered by PepsiCo back in 2017, with the goal of introducing them to the PepsiCo fleet by the end of 2022 or throughout 2023. The trucks are promoted as having a 500 mile range and will be charged on Tesla's "megawatt-class" V4 DC Supercharger.
This could be a game-changer for the large scale adoption of electric logistics vehicles across the world. Tesla has been key in promoting the popularity of EVs since the introduction of the first Tesla in 2008. The Tesla Model 3 has been one of the most popular EVs year on year and Tesla's have the lowest level of depreciation of any EV.
Hopefully, Tesla's introduction into the freight vehicle market will increase the competition and pressure for companies like Volvo and Freightliner to continue developing viable electric HGVs in the future.
Volvo announce an electric HGV with a 600-mile range on one charge
In June of this year, Volvo announced their testing of hydrogen fuel cell HGVs with a towing capacity of 65 tonnes, a range of up to 620 miles, and a charge time of under 15 minutes. They are aiming for them to enter the market by 2030.
This will be a collaboration between Volvo and Daimler Truck to develop the fuel cells for this potentially game-changing development.
So, yes - electric lorries are already 'happening'. In 2021, there were more than 500,000 HGV registrations in the UK and they contribute a vast amount of CO2e.
Commercial vehicles need to start switching to electric vehicles, including company cars, vans, and HGVs. To have appropriate charging points installed at your office, warehouse or commercial property, contact Charge And Recharge today!