Major transport operator Mainfreight, has revealed its electric vehicle strategy with an ambitious program to embrace zero emission truck technology.

The company published its Sustainability Overview 2022, which summarised its current procurement strategy for low emission trucks across various regions where the NZ based organisation  operates, including Australia where it maintains a strong and growing presence.

Mainfreight has revealed it has purchased eight new electric trucks in Australia, all of which are currently underway  with truck body builders. The order bank includes including two SEA 300 85s and six Chinese built Foton iBlues.

The company says that both electric truck brands  have a  range of around 200km and operate with payloads of between 2.5 tonne and five-plus tonnes.

Mainfreight said it expects all eight truck will be on the road by the end of the year mainly serving major metropolitan areas.

In New Zealand Mainfreight revealed it 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, an 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.