Amazon launches five fully-electric HGVs in the UK

Amazon has launched five pure-electric heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in the UK, in a move that will mitigate 170 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

Amazon launches five fully-electric HGVs in the UK

The new trucks will be charged using renewable electricity

The new 27-tonne vehicles will operate from Amazon’s fulfilment centres in Tilbury and Milton Keynes. They are the online retailer’s first fully electric HGVs in Europe.

Amazon has chosen DAF’s CF Electric model, which has a 350kWh battery pack and a maximum range of 155 miles. The model is also fitted with regenerative brakes; when the driver brakes, an electric motor works as a generator that produces energy for storage in the battery pack. This boosts range and makes the brakes more hard-wearing.

The new trucks will be replacing five diesel trucks, so Amazon is expecting a 170-tonne reduction in its annual greenhouse gas emissions footprint due to their implementation. Its Tilbury and Milton Keynes sites are already served by 100% renewable electricity, meaning this is what will be used to charge the HGVs. Amazon has installed 360kW fast charging points at the sites to serve the new vehicles.

Building on the introduction of the five DAF CF Electrics, Amazon is planning to add another nine fully-electric HGVs to its UK fleet by the end of 2022.

Sharing the news on LinkedIn, Amazon’s head of sustainability external engagement Ella Mason said: “Five years ago, I clearly remember sitting in a manufacturing policy roundtable where I sat through a whole presentation about why HGVs would never be fully electric.

“Roll on five years, and we have put our first five fully electric HGVs in to our UK fleet this week. Think big.”

As a rule of thumb, the larger a vehicle is, the more challenging it is to electrify. Only a handful of companies in Europe have launched pure-electric HGVs beyond the trial stage – Sainsbury’s being one.

The news from Amazon has been welcomed by several representatives within the UK Government, including Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport Trudy Harrison MP. Harrison said:Amazon plays a key role in transporting goods to towns and villages up and down the country and I’m pleased to see they are leading the way by going green. With the zero-emission market now taking off for even the heaviest HGVs, we’ll be able to move more products around in a way that’s friendlier to our environment while supporting our net-zero mission.”

Wider plans

Amazon’s overarching climate goal is to become a net-zero business by 2040. This ambition was announced in 2019 following years of campaigning by green groups and by Amazon’s own staff.

Decarbonising road transport will be a big focus for Amazon as it strives to meet this goal. In the UK, the company has already launched more than 1,000 electric delivery vans. More than 45 million packages were delivered in the UK using electric vans and e-cargo bikes in 2021.

In the US – Amazon’s biggest market – EV rollouts are less far down the line. The company pledged in 2020 to purchase 100,000 electric delivery vehicles, and tests began in partnership with Rivian in 2021. Also in 2021, Amazon confirmed plans to buy up to 2,500 pure electric trucks from Canadian manufacturer Lion Electric by 2025.

It bears noting that Amazon continues to face calls to strengthen its 2040 climate target and supporting commitments.

Sarah George

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Comments (2)

  1. David Dundas says:

    While it makes economic sense to power heavy goods vehicles with hydrogen-electric vehicles, the lack of hydrogen refueling stations in the UK compared with many European countries, is forcing operators of these vehicles to opt for electric only power.

  2. Richard Phillips says:

    Electric vehicles are fine, but we must remember that the energy has to be generated somehow.
    If fossil fuel is burned in the power stations, CO2 is the byproduct. The only non carboniferous energy sources are nuclear or from the natural environment wind, solar, or turbines of some variety. Nature is not under our control.
    Nuclear is thus only non carboniferous source completely under our control.
    Like it or not, this is the real world.
    Richard Phillips

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