The Warehouse Group has unveiled four custom EV trucks to service its home delivery network, which are the first in the market to deliver whiteware, general appliance and larger items.
The trucks add to the Group's expanding fleet of light electric vehicles and will operate in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Christchurch.
The purpose-built trucks will fulfil customer deliveries in a 220km roundtrip radius from the distribution centres in the respective locations. Each truck features a hard side boxed rear cabin with a 2-metre tail lift on the rear.
The Warehouse Group chief sustainability officer David Benattar says the roll out of the EV trucks is "an exciting new step in the Group's continued progress" in decarbonising its operations and forms part of its broader set of sustainability commitments.
“Moving goods to our customers is an essential part of our operations and decarbonising our transport and logistics is one of our business priorities," he says.
“It is our hope that the introduction of these trucks will accelerate the commercial uptake of electric vehicles because we will be able to demonstrate their viability in operational practice.
The Warehouse Group's acquisition of the EV trucks was part funded by the government's Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, administered by EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority).
EECA Transport portfolio manager Richard Briggs says, “Heavy vehicles have a disproportionate carbon footprint, so investing in electric really pays off.
"Right now, there are only a little over 200 heavy EVs registered in New Zealand, so we're pleased to support organisations like The Warehouse Group who are taking a leadership role in the sector and encouraging others to electrify their own fleets.
Benattar says the acquisition of the EV trucks is an investment in the Group's ongoing transition to EV which is an integral part of supporting the country's efforts to decarbonise our economy.
“As one of New Zealand's largest retailers, we recognise that we have a crucial role to play, but we cannot do it alone," he says.
"The deployment of decarbonisation solutions requires collaboration between a wide group of stakeholders to make them economically viable and operationally successful.
“The introduction of our EV truck fleet is a perfect demonstration of what can be achieved with partner collaboration."
In 2019 The Warehouse Group met its goal to transition 30% of its vehicle fleet to EV before the end of that year. Currently 59% of the Group's passenger fleet is EV, with plans to transition 100% to electric within the next 24 months. The transition of 70 LPG forklifts to electric is planned within the same timeframe.
The Warehouse Group's work in climate action was recognised when it was recently awarded an A- by the Carbon Disclosure Project in its CDP score for 2020, putting in it the highest category of “Leadership” and acknowledging that the Group was implementing current best practices in the fight against climate change.