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Reliance Transport Scania BEV truck.

Clean Transport

Electric Trucks Take the Load on the Road in New Zealand

Reliance Transport, with the help of the Low Emission Transport Fund, administered with the help of funding from New Zealand’s Energy Efficiency and Conversation Authority, has commissioned two battery-powered Scania electric trucks to take the road in New Zealand. Reliance Transport is a last-mile cartage specialist based in South Auckland.

The first-generation 29 tonne (GCW) battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are eminently suitable for short- to medium-haul journeys with a range of 180 km (112 miles). They are used for carting containers and steel products around the city’s port and freight networks.

Mark Darrah, director of the family business, decided to take the long-term view to promote sustainable practice and reduce fuel costs. “That long-term view and focus was certainly the main motivation for purchasing the BEVs. I’ve made a few trips to Europe, China and USA investigating alternative fuel and sustainable transport options, and the Scania BEVs suited our needs the best. We intend on adding more to the fleet as resources permit,” he says.

Camilla Cochrane of the EECA says the electrification of heavy vehicles has “come along in leaps and bounds in a very short space of time.” This will help the decarbonisation of the heavy transport sector, which has an “out-sized impact” on the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“We’re pleased to see another pair of electric trucks hit the road, to show there are a growing number of solutions available,” Cochrane adds.

The EECA provided NZ$500,000 to help purchase the Scania BEV trucks. Reliance is on “a five stage, multi-year business journey to carbon zero and sustainable practices. This current third stage is a multi-phase programme that will see our diesel-powered heavy truck and fork hoist fleet replaced with zero emission BEVs,” Darrah says.

“We’re already offsetting current carbon emissions by achieving Toitū (environmental management) carbon zero accreditation, and by investing in additional carbon credits.”

BEV trucks

Scania BEV truck

The battery electric vehicles come with the option of either five or nine batteries — totalling 165 kWh or 300 kWh installed capacity respectively. With the combustion engine removed, space for batteries has been created and additional batteries are mounted on the chassis frame.

The new electric motor delivers a continuous power of 230 kW, or approximately 310 horsepower. The motor has two gears to provide high power over a wider speed span and the vehicles also include optional emission-free operation for both hydraulics and refrigeration units.

Scania NZ managing director Rafael Alvarenga says bringing in the first of these fully electric trucks is not a one-off. “Scania NZ is as serious in its commitment to building a battery electric truck fleet in Aotearoa as our customers are about acquiring them.

“Acquiring an electric truck is not just an investment in a customer’s fleet, but also in their brand and market. An electric truck enables the customer to stay ahead of the competition, learn about infrastructural challenges, and start adapting for the future,” Alvarenga says.

Stage 4 will begin next developing a sustainable microgrid on site to provide a 1 -MW charging capacity for the electric fleet.

Comments from a driver who has had the opportunity to test out the new BEV Scanias: “It’s a fantastic truck to drive, very smooth take-off with plenty of power. It glides down the road effortlessly with no noise or vibrations whatsoever.

“I’ve been driving trucks for a number of years now, including a variety of electric trucks, and I can honestly say that I didn’t know a truck could be this pleasant to drive. Scania has made an absolute masterpiece and I tip my hat to them.”

We are looking forward to seeing more BEV trucks on the road, and hopefully coming across the ditch to Australia.

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Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


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