eCanter - Warburtons (15)

Warburtons is trialling the FUSO eCanter in preparation for the rise in the use of commercial electric vehicles (EVs).

The family-owned bread maker has added a 7.5-tonne FUSO eCanter to the fleet at its Bolton bakery to make 4am deliveries of fresh bread to as many as 25 supermarkets and independent stores, mainly in the central Manchester area.

The FUSO eCanter comes with an electric drivetrain which employs six 13.8 kWh lithium-ion batteries with a total power output of 82.8 kWh. The permanent-magnet motor delivers 129 kW (180 hp) via a single-gear transmission in the rear axle and a single charge gives the truck an effective operating range of more than 62 miles.

Warburtons currently operates a primary fleet of 125 tractors which trunk nightly between a nationwide network of bakeries. The eCanter has joined its secondary fleet of 800 rigid trucks, which undertake local deliveries to customers from 23 locations, ranging from Aberdeen to Newton Abbot.

The truck is the subject of a five-year Mercedes-Benz Finance contract hire and is fitted with a bespoke box body by PPS Commercials, of Bury, Greater Manchester.

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Warburtons national transport manager Steve Gray said: “Like all transport operators, we’re conscious of the increasing prevalence of emissions-based restrictions, particularly in city centres, and appreciate that there’s only one direction of travel.

“Zero-emission truck technology is still in its infancy, of course, but the limitations on range which remain the biggest barrier to widespread adoption are not necessarily an issue for Warburtons. This is because many of our trucks are already on low-mileage work. We’ve therefore decided to acquire a FUSO eCanter, as this vehicle aligns perfectly with our operating profile.”

Gray added: “I’ve been impressed, too, with the support we’ve received from Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK. Our key account manager Darren Bain has been excellent throughout, and arranged for his TRUCKtraining colleagues to deliver familiarisation sessions on the new vehicle to our own driver-trainers.”

There are 16 FUSO eCanter’s in operation in the UK so far, with 10 delivered to three operators in 2018, and a further six supplied to other UK customers in 2019. Worldwide there are now more than 200 in operation.