Electric lorry outside A.F. Blakemore head office

Source: AF Blakemore

The week-long trial was completed with a 19-tonne electric truck supplied by Electra 

AF Blakemore has completed a trial with a 19-tonne electric truck at its Willenhall distribution centre, putting it “one step closer” to introducing an electric HGV for the first time, it has said.

The week-long trial started on 15 March, and involved an e-Cargo refrigerated rigid vehicle, supplied by Electra, which could travel up to 130 miles on full charge – which takes 10 hours to reach. It delivered to Spar stores within a 100-mile round trip of the West Midlands depot.

The Spar wholesaler said replacing one of its standard diesel rigids with this type of electric vehicle could save the company more than 30 tonnes of CO2 emissions over one year.

“We are excited to be involved in the drive towards a more sustainable future and 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,” said AF Blakemore logistics compliance manager Dave Higgs.

It told The Grocer that the trial was a “good fact-finding exercise” and is now looking at the results and will be discussing them with Electra next month.

The business will also be looking at more suppliers of electric vehicles, it added.

AF Blakemore has already begun to roll out electric home delivery vans to its Spar stores and has invested in charging points for employees that use electric cars at several of its depots.

The company’s commitment to reducing its transport emissions is part of a wider focus on sustainability. In January, AF Blakemore welcomed a new environmental sustainability manager to its responsible business team to drive its strategy forward.

It comes as government announced late last year that it will phase out new, non-zero-emission heavy goods vehicles weighing 26 tonnes and under by 2035, with all new HGVs sold in the UK to be zero emission by 2040.