Mainfreight confirms electric vehicle strategy

Truck and logistics operator, Mainfreight, has announced its electric vehicle strategy in a new report it released this week.

In the Mainfreight Sustainability Overview 2022, the company has summarised its current procurement strategy for lower emission commercial vehicles across several international regions including Australia where it maintains a growing presence.

In Australia, Mainfreight has eight new electric truck builds underway including two Hino 300 glider kits with SEA 85s and six Foton iBlues.

Both variants have a similar range of approximately 200km and operating payloads between 2.5 tonne and 5-plus tonne.

Mainfreight confirmed it expects all eight units will be on the road by the end of the year predominantly serving major metro areas.

In New Zealand Mainfreight is now operating four Fuso eCanters in Auckland and Hamilton, with options for a further ten also being considered.

Mainfreight has also committed to operating its own battery swapping and charging infrastructure in Hamilton using energy generated from its own onsite solar installations.

According to Mainfreight, the E700 with battery swap will be installed as New Zealand’s first heavy intercity general freight model, operating between Auckland and Hamilton.

“Battery Swap electric vehicles offer an attractive solution to several of the drawbacks in hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles,” the company said in the report.

“Specifically it takes advantage of battery electric lower operating costs but overcomes the range, charging time and payload restraints, by having smaller quick to charge batteries,” said Mainfreight.

“This allows the use of Lithium Ferrous Phosphate batteries rather than Lithium Ion which are safer, more stable and less environmentally harmful. We expect this vehicle will reduce our road freight emissions by over 100 tonnes of CO2-e per year.”

Low emission heavy vehicles, according to the report, are going to be critical in efforts to decarbonise road freight.

“The rate of innovation and development in these technologies is exciting but still has some way to go before widespread adoption,” Mainfreight said. “Our current explorations focus on supplementing our fleet with battery electric vehicles and Battery Swap Electric Vehicles.”

Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and hydrogen dual fuel vehicles do not currently feature in Mainfreight’s fleet mix but remain technologies of interest the company said.

Mainfreight has also procured a MAN e-TGM and DAF EV for the Dutch city of Tilburg which is among the first of the Netherlands cities to impose a ban on fossil fuel vehicles in major urban areas.

The legislation will come into effect from 2025.

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