Electra Commercial Vehicles has completed a three-month trial of its zero-emission 19-tonne refrigerated hydrogen-powered truck with supermarket giant Sainsbury’s.

The Electra eCargo Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) travelled a typical daily return journey of 208 miles from the supermarket’s depot in Sherburn-on-Elmet to Newcastle.

The vehicle saw a dramatic cut in emissions – delivering zero emissions compared to an average of 314kg of CO2 emitted by a diesel truck making the same trip.

Data collected from the trial also showed that the HGV used approximately 65% of its hydrogen capacity per trip, giving it an approximate operational daily range of 320 miles on one fill of hydrogen.

Sainsbury’s reported positive feedback from drivers participating in the trial, stating: “The truck was well received due to its quiet operation, ease of driving and after the first few runs, range anxiety was diminished.”

The Electra eCargo FCEV has been in operation with Sainsbury’s in the Tees Valley area and beyond as part of the government funded Road to Hydrogen project.

It aims to help the UK solve challenges around zero-emission road freight and is linked to the Teesside Multi-Modal Transport Hydrogen Hub.

Hydrogen for the trial was supplied by Element 2, which is currently building the UK’s national network of hydrogen refuelling stations.

Electra is currently building hydrogen vehicles for a number of specialist HGV operations, including for fleets operating in the winter maintenance and airport sectors.

Sid Sadique, founder and chairman of Electra Commercial Vehicles, said: “I am thrilled with the truck's performance during its tour in the Tees Valley area.

Read more

“Seeing something that was just a vision for the future on paper over a year ago now becoming a reality is fantastic.

“It again demonstrates how Electra is the undisputed leader in net-zero road transport transition, taking the UK and Europe another step closer to reaching their critical decarbonisation ambitions.

“We will now bring fully operational hydrogen trucks onto our roads in 2023, as well as further building on the success of our electric ranges.

“We could not have made this a success without our partner Element 2, which provided a robust hydrogen refuelling infrastructure for the project.

“We look forward to working with Element 2 in future hydrogen undertakings. What we have achieved together gives transport operators the confidence to switch to hydrogen sooner rather than later.”

Tim Harper, Element 2 chief executive officer, added: “The completion of this trial represents a major milestone in the road to decarbonising UK road transport. Electra’s truck has demonstrated how hydrogen can provide a viable alternative to diesel for fleet owners and operators – and in particular for heavy goods haulage due to its superior range capabilities.

“We were thrilled to supply the hydrogen and refuelling infrastructure needed for the trial and will continue to work hand-in-glove with Electra to help customers reach their carbon emission reduction targets quickly.”

Gary King, Sainsbury’s head of engineering and compliance, said: “We are committed to reducing the carbon footprint of our fleet and this trial has played a pivotal role in the development of our strategy.

“Achieving zero carbon emissions for a regular haulage route is a significant initial step and will inform future decision making.”