Electric lorry outside SPAR Leegomery[24088]

Food and drink retail and wholesale distribution business, A.F. Blakemore & Son, has been trialling an electric truck at its Willenhall distribution centre.

The week-long trial, which began on 15 March, saw the 19-tonne Electra e-Cargo refrigerated rigid vehicle delivering to the company’s SPAR retail stores within a 100-mile round trip of the West Midlands depot.

The Electra e-Cargo SEIV 19 Urban Refrigeration Vehicle is based on a 19-tonne Iveco Euro Cargo 4x2 glider chassis. It can travel up to 130 miles on a full charge. Iveco builds the chassis to Electra's glider specification in its factory in Brescia, Italy with space predesigned for the electric motor, batteries and electric PTO.

The family firm, which employs 7,000 people and has a turnover of around £1.2bn, said that, over the course of a year, replacing one of AF Blakemore’s standard diesel rigids with an electric truck could save the company more than 30 tonnes of CO2 emissions. The vehicle takes up to 10 hours to charge at the company’s Willenhall lorry park.

Read more

AF Blakemore logistics compliance manager Dave Higgs said: “This trial will move AFB a step closer to introducing its first electric HGV, and we are excited to be involved in the drive towards a more sustainable future.

“If the test week is successful, the business will be looking at more suppliers of electric vehicles. We are hoping to do a number of trials over the next five years to understand the potential of electric HGVs and how they could be incorporated into our fleet."

AF Blakemore has already begun to roll out electric home delivery vans to its SPAR stores and has invested in charging points for electric car users at several of its depots. The company said its commitment to reducing its transport emissions is part of a wider focus on sustainability, which saw it appoint a new environmental sustainability manager to its responsible business team earlier this year.