Commercial Vehicle News

Electric Freightway delivers its first all-electric HGVs

The first fully electric HGVs have been delivered under the UK’s Electric Freightway programme.

Food wholesaler A.F. Blakemore & Son – one of the UK’s largest privately owned family businesses – has taken delivery of two Volvo FM Electric trucks under the government-backed scheme to advance the shift to zero-emissions transport.

Electric Freightway is part of the Zero Emission HGV and Infrastructure Demonstrator Programme, which is attempting to lay the foundations for a nationwide charging network for electric trucks.

The programme, funded by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK, is being led by EV charging network Gridserve, and involves 33 businesses – from logistics firms like A.F. Blackmore to data specialist Hitachi ZeroCarbon.

The heavy goods sector currently accounts for just under 20% of the UK’s transport CO2 emissions despite contributing a fraction of the mileage of cars. Reducing this impact is seen as vital in progressing towards net zero. If the 400,000 HGVs on UK roads today were switched to electric, the UK could save more than 18.6Mt CO2 each year.

A.F. Blakemore & Son is the largest SPAR wholesaler in the UK and specialises in food supply and distribution across both retail and wholesale sectors. Its current delivery fleet comprises 103 articulated units with 178 trailers and 130 rigid HGVs. The two Volvo FM Electric tractor units, supplied by Hartshorne Group and Volvo Trucks, have replaced two diesel units and are already operating from its Bedford depot. The firm is already planning to add two more eHGVs at its central distribution centre in the West Midlands.

Each vehicle features a 540kWh battery and three electric motors delivering 675bhp and a maximum range of 185 miles, enabling them to directly replace diesel-powered trucks. A.F. Blakemore & Son estimates they will save 45,000 litres of diesel and prevent more than 120 tonnes of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere each year.

A.F. Blakemore’s responsible business director, Caoire Blakemore, stated: “We are thrilled to be at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution in the convenience retail sector. We believe this is just the beginning of our journey towards becoming a net zero carbon company by 2040 and we are excited to see the positive impact these vehicles will have on our operations and the environment.”

Sam Clarke, chief vehicle officer at Gridserve, added: “This is a proud day for everybody involved in the Electric Freightway programme and very soon, Gridserve will be installing the depot charging that will support these impressive trucks. A.F. Blakemore & Son has such a deep understanding of retail, wholesale and foodservice, but it’s their enviable values-led culture that makes them a perfect consortium partner. We’re looking forward to supporting their decarbonisation journey and hope that others will follow their lead.”

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Matt Allan

Matt is Editor of EV Powered. He has worked in journalism for more than 20 years and been an automotive journalist for the last decade, covering every aspect of the industry, from new model reveals and reviews to consumer and driving advice. The former motoring editor of, The Scotsman and National World, Matt has watched the EV landscape transform beyond recognition over the last 10 years and developed a passion for electric vehicles and what they mean for the future of transport - from the smallest city cars to the biggest battery-powered trucks. When he’s not driving or writing about electric cars, he’s figuring out how to convert his classic VW camper to electric power.