Cambridgeshire-based family business Welch’s Transport has launched its net zero delivery service in Cambridge after taking delivery of a Renault Trucks E-Tech D Wide 4x2 curtainside rigid, the first fully electric HGV on its fleet.

The new 19 tonne E-Tech D Wide was selected to provide the first net zero delivery service in Cambridge, which supports the city’s sustainability goal in reducing direct carbon emissions from fleet vehicles.

Welch’s Transport has also recently launched its Urban Consolidation Centre (UCC), which aims to make the last mile of deliveries within the city of Cambridge completely emissions-free.

The UCC will minimise the number of heavy goods vehicles operating in the city centre, which Welch's said will potentially reduce the number of vehicle trip deliveries by an estimated 46%.

The new E-Tech D Wide is running between 100-160 miles a day on Welch’s Transport’s network radial work, double running to achieve the higher mileages with a scheduled charge in the middle of the day.

Welch’s Transport worked with Renault Trucks commercial partner, Allports Group, to install a 150kw supercharger on site, the first publicly accessible HGV charging point in the UK, to enable the vehicle to triple run across a 24-hour period and to speed up the installation of charging infrastructure in the region.

Director of Welch’s Transport, Chris Welch, said: “The arrival of our new electric Renault Trucks E-Tech D Wide will help the City Council and businesses in the city centre realise their Net Zero climate ambitions.

"Multi-national transport and logistics companies must account for vehicle range and available charging infrastructure when plotting out electric vehicle routes for cities like Cambridge, and we are ideally positioned to integrate fully electric vehicles into our fleet due to the prime location depot in Duxford and our newly installed charging station.”

He added: “Renault Trucks make up 95% of our current fleet, so it was an easy decision to select their E-Tech.

"We’ve been a Renault Trucks customer and franchise for just over 15 years, operating as a service dealer within the group with the premises based on the same site as our main transport depot.

"We’ve also achieved Renault Trucks EV Truck Service Dealer status, so we naturally wanted our technicians to be one of the first to fully maintain an operational BEV Renault Truck.”

Read more

The new ultra-quiet, 100% electric E-Tech D Wide, features a Bevans curtainside body and Dhollandia 2 tonne slider taillift and is powered by 265 kWh E-Tech traction batteries with four battery packs of 66kW each located in the wheelbase.

The E-Tech also features eye-catching Cambridge-centric skyline livery in “electric” colours and is specified with Global Cab, adjustable roof deflector, ENXL trailer curtains, a five-year subscription to Renault Trucks’ Optifleet telematics system and benefits from a full repair and maintenance contract.

Welch said: “We’re also using the E-Tech to trial Renault Trucks’ Optifleet which gives us additional information on electrical performance and usage, enabling us to understand what the vehicle is capable of and the need to track mpkwh over mpg.”

Welch’s Transport’s operation runs two pallet networks, Palletline and Hazchem, with 15 rigids running radial local miles suitable for BEV transition.

Welch explained: “We worked with the Energy Saving Trust at the end of 2022 where they undertook an electrification study of our main depot assessing the whole fleet transition to EV, the mileage milestones needed for the different vehicle classes, the site’s power and charging infrastructure as well as other steps to help us to move towards Net Zero long before 2050. Transitioning to electric also gives us access to emerging final mile delivery markets that BEV is very suited to.”

Although Welch’s Transport has electric company cars, the E-Tech D Wide is the first HGV on the fleet and it aims to switch its parts, pool and technician vans in its Truck Centre operation to electric in the near future.

Welch said: “We are aiming to drive electrification of the local supply chain by providing urban consolidation services and last mile to Greater Cambridge through fully electric vehicles.

"We are also working with Renault Trucks’ LCV Division, trialling the E-Tech Master OptiModale van and Freegônes e-cargo bike to tackle the “last metre” and HGV last mile deliveries.

"Our aim is to start with trials in Q4 with potential consolidation zones in Cambridge and then deploy an additional number of LCVs and HGVs in 2024.”

He concluded: “The combination of our knowledgeable local drivers, and our new electric Renault Trucks E-Tech D Wide will revolutionise last mile deliveries in Cambridge.

"We can support every business in the city looking to improve their operations and meet their sustainability goals.”