US behemoth food company Mars is looking to put 300 “heavy-duty” electric trucks into operation in Europe by 2030, in what it is calling the largest electrification of freight trucking in Europe ever.
Running routes to and fro various company locations, this kind of trucking is primed for electrification, and a company the scale of Mars, which owns 50 global brands, transforming its freight into EVs could have a massive impact on emissions.
The deal is a collaboration with Swedish-owned Einride and launched in Germany last week, with routes in the UK and the Netherlands coming this year. “This sets a precedent for other players in the freight industry to follow, showcasing the mass potential of electrification at scale,” said Robert Falck, CEO and founder at Einride.
Technically the company will start hauling pet food from its Pet Nutrition factory in Verden, Germany, to its logistics center in Mindin, about 91 kilometers (about 56.5 miles) one way. Both locations come equipped with charging points, so a truck can easily do the full roundtrip with the option to charge on either side if needed.
To get things started, Einride provided Mars with two Mercedes-Benz eActros 300s and two charging stations with four charging points operated by Einride’s Saga operating system. The version of the electric truck has three battery packs with 105 kWh each, totaling 315 kWh, which should supply enough range to cover about 300 kilometers/186 miles with an average load. Next up is a route from its chocolate factory in Viersen to other sites, as well as routes in the UK and the Netherlands.
For its part, Mars is investing $1 billion over the next three years to help reach its zero-emissions target by 2050, with the target to cut carbon in half by 2030 across its full value chain. It, too, is investing about “a mid-six-figure euro amount in the installation,” Electrive reports.
The first two eActros 300s will soon be joined by more vehicles, although Mars didn’t specify if those will be Daimler Trucks, in that Einride sources its vehicles from several manufacturers. These fully-electric operations will be complemented with an autonomous pilot project, implemented in 2025.
By switching to the 300 electric trucks, Mars says it will reduce CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes per year, corresponding to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from Mars Logistik in Europe of around 10% per year.
This type of trucking is primed to make the electric transition. For one, fleet trucks typically have a set route, making mileage easier to plan, and trucks can return to the depot in the evenings for overnight charging using their own infrastructure.
The shift from solely focusing on electrifying smaller trucks for last-mile delivery is moving to this kind of medium-duty hauling, with a new model from Mack Trucks recently out, other players such as Japan’s Hino and Isuzu working on new models.
Of course, the upfront costs for a company to convert to electric trucks is a tough sell, but a company like Mars bankroll it. Soon, the EU (and in California at least), regulations will leave companies with no choice but to make the switch. And doing so has the potential to clean up billions of tons of CO2 emissions a year.
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