Welch Group has joined the eFREIGHT 2030 consortium, which has been selected to join the UK government’s Zero Emission HGV and Infrastructure Demonstration (ZEHID) programme.

The programme aims to kickstart the uptake of zero emission HGVs and is funded by the UK government through Innovate UK. 

The project has been awarded £49.2m in government funding and will demonstrate how battery-electric HGVs can replace conventional  HGVs at scale, using British technology.

It is also expected to unlock an expected £500m of private investment from consortium members in electric vehicles and charging hubs across the UK by 2030.

Led by Voltempo, the project will use next-generation  HGVs from Renault Trucks, DAF and Scania, plus British-designed 1MW charging technology.

It will deliver around 32 megawatt charging hubs, providing the crucial infrastructure to help the haulage sector decarbonise.

Voltempo develops the British designed and manufactured electric HGV megawatt charging system being used as part of the exercise.

The eFREIGHT 2030 consortium brings together a number of specialist logistics providers, alongside some familiar High Street names and some leading hauliers.

The Welch Group is one of only a very few SMEs involved in the programme. Jamie Sands, Welch’s group operational support and systems manager said the company’s experience is vital to the programme.

”We have already been trialling and exploring the feasibility of running these vehicles in an SME hauliers operation and discovering how to make it work for our clients.

”We can put to the test these new systems in areas such as pallet network trunking and even tramping, once the infrastructure network is in place.”

Chris Welch, director of operations, (pictured) added: ”All organisations in the UK will have to meet Net Zero targets by 2050, and the ones who get ahead by investing now in greener systems, will benefit both their businesses and our planet.”

Work on the eFREIGHT 2030 project began early this year and will take five years to complete.

Other projects receiving a share of the £200m boost are Project Electric Freightway by GRIDSERVE, Project Zero Emission North (ZEN) Freight, and Hydrogen Aggregated Logistics (HyHAUL) by Protium.