A call for hauliers to join a nationwide trial of electric HGVs aimed at helping operators decarbonise their fleets, is being made by the The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight (SRF).

The project, dubbed the Joint Operator Logistics Trial (JOLT), aims to develop the knowledge and models needed to de-risk electric freight operations and inform operators’ investment decisions.

Operators signing up to the JOLT programme, which is led by SRF, will pool operations and technical data from a fleet of rigid and articulated eHGVs being used across a wide range of 3PL, retailer and manufacturer use cases.

Project Jolt will provide participating hauliers with shared access to a fleet of electric vehicles and mobile chargers which will be used by each partner to carry out an agreed sequence of partner trials.

John Lewis Partnerships has already signed up as one of the trial partners, along with Volvo Trucks UK, and Flexible Power Systems, a software company specialising in fleet management optimisation software for electric vehicles.

The retailer will trial a Volvo electric FM 4×2 tractor unit, which can carry up to 42 tonnes cover up to 300km on a single charge.

Justin Laney, John Lewis Partnership general manager of central transport, said: ”We are delighted to be kick starting this important initiative, which will inform our journey beyond eliminating fossil fuel from our fleet by 2030 to achieving a zero-carbon fleet by 2035

Specialists at Cambridge University and Heriot-Watt University will analyse and model data including vehicle and charger performance, operational efficiency and costs across as many industry uses as possible.

Professor Philip Greening, an expert in sustainable transport and logistics at Heriot-Watt University and co-director of The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight, said, “A key feature of this project is understanding how the different range and load capabilities of electric heavy goods vehicles – as well as downtime for charging – will affect the efficiency of operators and supply chains.

The trial is open to all HGV operators. Participants will either access a shared vehicle fleet supplied by OEMs or share data from their own electric vehicles.

Parties interested in joining the Project JOLT scheme should email SRF on vl270@cam.ac.uk or call Guy Grange at FPS on 01342 360240.