Albertsons takes first baby step towards an electric truck fleet
Albertsons Companies is serious about cutting costs and reducing its environmental impact. The grocery giant, which last month committed to emission targets that support the goals of the United Nations’ Paris Agreement, announced the addition of two fully electric trucks to its fleet.
The two Volvo VNR Electric vehicles will join Albertsons’ fleet of around 1,400 Class 8 trucks ferrying products from the grocer’s distribution centers around the U.S. The trucks will connect to electric-powered transport refrigeration trailers to maintain the integrity of products being moved. Albertsons operates 20 grocery banners in 34 states and Washington, D.C., including Safeway and its namesake chain.
Tim Burke, Albertsons vice president of transportation, said the acquisition of the new trucks along with other steps it has taken have put it on “the forefront of innovation” when it comes to sustainable transportation.
The vehicles, which will transport goods along Albertsons’ routes in Southern California, offer an added bonus, Mr. Burke said. He pointed to the trucks’ “quiet motors” that improve the “working environment for our drivers and grocery store staff.”
The move into electric vehicles builds on Albertsons previous efforts to increase the efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of its fleet. Eighty-nine percent of the trucks operated by the grocer are EPA SmartWay certified carriers.
The grocer’s progress with electric commercial vehicles may put it slightly behind the curve for all businesses, but not by much. Electric trucks currently account for around one percent of zero-emission vehicles today, according to Ben Sharpe, senior researcher at the International Council on Clean Transportation.
FedEx, reports GreenBiz, began investing in electric in 2010 and expects to be running half of its fleet on electric by 2025. The delivery company expects to be fully electric by 2040.
Creating the infrastructure was not a difficult process for FedEx as it relied on partnerships to make gains. The next phase is building its own infrastructure to support scaling the technology.
Russ Musgrove, managing director of FedEx Express, told GreenBiz that the investment in electric vehicles pays off.
“If you can control the miles, you control your fleet, and you’re in a hub-and-spoke type of scenario, the [total cost of ownership] on this is off the chart,” he said.
- Volvo Trucks’ Customer Albertsons Achieves Nation’s First Commercial 100% Zero-Emission Refrigerated Grocery Delivery with a Class 8 Truck – Volvo Trucks North America/PRNewswire
- Albertsons Companies Commits to Setting Science-Based Target to Reduce Carbon Emissions – Albertsons Companies
- Planet – Albertsons Companies
- What’s delivering electric fleets? FedEx and ChargePoint weigh in – GreenBiz
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is the prospect of lower costs of ownership making it easier for retailers to make the investments necessary to begin building electric truck fleets? Do you expect major retailers, in particular, to make significant moves to convert their trucking fleets from diesel to electric vehicles?