Tesco to deploy fully electric heavy goods trucks in ‘UK first’

Tesco is to pioneer the use electric trucks to supply food and other products to its distribution centre Wales early in the New Year, in a move it said would mark the first commercial use of fully electric articulated heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in the UK. The supermarket chain plans to launch two new 37 tonne DAF electric vehicles to products from Wentloog rail terminal outside Cardiff to its distribution centre in Magor, Wales, as part of a partnership with logistics and international freight forwarding company FSEW, it announced today. Tesco estimates rolling out the two new lorries could replace around 65,000 diesel-fuelled road miles with clean green energy, thereby removing around 87.4 tonnes of CO2e per year.

FSEW has installed charging points at its site in South Wales which are designed to provide enough electricity to power the new HGVs for roughly 100 mile journeys at a time. The journey between Wentloog and Magor stretched to around 30 miles each way, making it the ideal location to begin using and better understanding the electric trucks, with a view to potentially using them more widely throughout Tesco’s UK supply chain, according to the retailer. “Tesco’s distribution network is one of the largest in the UK and plays an important role in our efforts to become net zero in our own operations by 2035,” said Tesco UK and ROI CEO Jason Tarry. “We’ve already made progress by starting our switch to electric home delivery vans and rolling out electric vehicles charging points for our customers.

I’m excited that Tesco can also lead the way in electric haulage innovation, helping to tackle this last source of road transport emissions with the support of FSEW.” Transport remains the UK’s single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, with road traffic making up the lion’s share, and HGVs alone accounting for around 16 per cent. Addressing emissions from heavy freight and trucks is therefore crucial to decarbonising the UK economy, but despite significant advances in battery technology and charging infrastructure for smaller vehicles, commercially viable solutions for electric haulage and distribution remain in their infancy.

But by demonstrating that electric HGV transportation is commercially viable, Tesco said it hoped to contribute to encouraging wider investment in technology and innovation to support the haulage sector’s efforts to reduce emissions and air pollution. Moreover, the announcement today is also aimed at supporting Tesco’s efforts to achieve net zero emissions in its own operations by 2035, and FSEW’s work to replace more than 40 diesel vehicles with low-carbon alternatives and switch to fleet-wide zero-emissions transport operations by 2025. Geoff Tomlinson, FSEW’s managing director, described today’s announcement as “a landmark day” and “a major step forward in our commitment to providing zero emissions transport freight services”.

“Together we are working to create a cleaner and greener logistics experience,” he said. “This is transformational for the UK’s commercial and retail industries and is just the start of our work to supply electric heavy freight vehicles to customers such as Tesco.”