First Loblaw electric transport hits the road in Montreal

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by Emily Atkins

Loblaw Companies Limited has put its its first heavy-duty fully electric transport truck on the road.

The vehicle is a battery-electric Freightliner eCascadia manufactured by Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) – the first series production eCascadia handed over to a customer in Canada, and one of five Loblaw expects to put into service in the months ahead.

The first electric truck will make daily runs between Loblaw’s distribution centre in Boucherville, Quebec, and Loblaw stores in the Greater Montreal Area, which include Provigo, Provigo Le Marche, and Maxi. The trucks will get up to 370 kilometres per charge while hauling up to 82,000 pounds of gradually diminishing gross weight, and will return to the Boucherville distribution centre’s new charging station to recharge daily.

“It’s no secret that vehicle decarbonization is central to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and we want to lead in the adoption of this new technology,” said Brian Springer, VP, national transport operations at Loblaw.

“For nearly two years, we’ve piloted different vehicles across various parts of our business, and we’re excited to roll-out a solution that works.”

In 2017, Loblaw pledged that by 2030 it would decarbonize its fleet of more than 160 company-owned day-cab trucks. The deployment of electric trucks is one of over 250 projects Loblaw has completed in the last year alone to help it achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

“Retailers like Loblaw have big ambitions to decarbonize the thousands of trucks that transport the food Canadians grow and consume every day, This first battery electric Cascadia in the hand of a Canadian customer marks an important milestone to move the industry toward a more sustainable, safe and efficient future,” said DTNA SVP, sales and marketing, David Carson.

“The vision we share and leadership in our respective industries is helping to pave the way to carbon neutrality and an unprecedented transformation.”

Freightliner’s battery electric eCascadia is suited for short-haul routes that allow for depot-based charging. The truck provides a typical range of up to 370 kilometres depending on vehicle configurations.

A maximum battery capacity of almost 440 kWh can recharge to 80 percent in approximately 90 minutes.

The 82,000 lbs (GCW) Class 8 truck comes standard with active braking assistance and and debuts DTNA’s Active Side Guard Assist (ASGA). This technology that engages at urban speeds (20 kmh or less) to prevent the truck from making a right turn when a moving cyclist or pedestrian is detected on the passenger side of the truck.