02 November 2022

100% Electric, 0% Emissions


The European Transport Days have taken place and our newest assets have been revealed… time to sit together with Bertil ter Maat, Branch manager of
Trucks & Drivers in the Netherlands, to look back on the complete process of implementing our 100% electric trucks. Bertil has been with the business for
14 years now and is responsible for all rolling stock—the ideal team member to interview for such developments.
If you were to ask Bertil ‘’of how many trucks does our fleet consist of?’’, he would proudly answer with ‘’348, plus two electric trucks.’’ And he is in his right
to be proud. ‘’Going electric’’ is an inevitable change in the world of logistics at this moment, and Mainfreight is taking measures into own hands to
prepare for the future. In the Dutch National Climate Agreement, the government has announced the ambition to have introduced 30 to 40 zero emission
zones as per 2025 in the Netherlands, so why not start today?


Sustainable trucks are the future

''Electric trucks are important to the future of Mainfreight'', Bertil begins. ‘’We are one of the biggest supply chain providers in Europe, which means that in order
to achieve change, we need to encourage change. At some point, we have to get rid of fossil fuels, so we decided to be bold and acquired two electric
trucks ourselves. One can already be seen on the road, and the other one is being built right as we speak.

According to Bertil, the future will be a mix of both electricity and hydrogen, although hydrogen is still in a very early stage. Unfortunately, diesel fuel will not
be off the shelves yet when it comes to long-distance transport. ‘’If we take a look at the current diesel trucks that are being presented these days,
we see that they are improving. Especially in terms of fuel-efficiency. Take, for example, our new truck with built in cameras instead of side view mirrors,
’’ he pauses while proceeding to show a picture, ‘’you can see that the new generation of trucks are way more aerodynamic. It saves a certain percentage of fuel.’’


Electric trucks on the road

‘’How the trucks will perform on the road is something that will unravel on the go. The two electric trucks we currently operate, have a range between 150- and 200 kilometers. One will depart from our Tilburg branch daily, where we have already installed a charging point at a designated dock. The other one can be spotted in the Arnhem-Nijmegen region, with ‘s-Heerenberg as homebase. Both trucks will be charged at night, so our drivers are ready to go again in the early morning.

The trucks will look just as immaculate as any other Mainfreight truck, but display one eyecatcher worth mentioning, according to Bertil. ‘’Just like the rest of the fleet, the electric trucks are painted in our signature Mainfreight Blue accompanied by shiny white rims. However, this time, we swapped our slogan ’Special People, Special Company’ with a new slogan even more fitting. The electric trucks will be characterized by the slogan ’100% Electric, 0% Emissions’. The rear states ‘Energy creates energy’, one of our sayings. If you see us on the road, be sure to take a picture as you are experiencing a first—only nine of these electric trucks are driving around in the Netherlands at this moment, of which two are ours!’’


What is next?

‘’Right now, our goal is to see what electric trucks can do for us as supply chain provider. If this is the right move as we believe it is, we will obviously consider expanding our fleet. We stay involved in all developments and continue with our market research like we did before investing in electric trucks. Our drivers will be trained in such way, so they know exactly how to operate an electric truck. Even though there is hardly a difference between our diesel- and electric trucks, there’s significant ways to win back energy. Think, for example, of regenerative braking.

All in all, I can say on behalf of the whole team that we are excited for the future and all that it holds for us. As we say here: Embrace the past, prepare now to face the future.’’

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