TNT Express and TNT Logistics are trialling an electric 7.5 tonne truck which they reckon is the first zero emission vehicle that can compete with a diesel on urban delivery routes.
The truck, built by Smith Electric Vehicles of Sunderland, has a payload of about two tonnes, a top sped of 50 mph and range of about 130 miles.
The TNT Express vehicle will operate from the Barking depot, while the TNT Logistics model will be based at its Starbucks operation in Basildon, Essex.
If the trial proves successful, TNT will consider adding 200 other zero emission vehicles to its fleet to serve in other urban locations in the UK. Peter Bakker, TNT chief executive, said TNT wanted “to be the cleanest, greenest express, mail and logistics company on the planet”.
The truck, called the “Newton” is powered by four large “Zebra” 278v batteries on the underside. Fully charged, the vehicle has a range of 130 miles. It can be re-charged on board or through domestic mains or a standard three-phase socket.
The Newton is exempt from the London congestion charge – approximately £1,750 a year – incurs no road tax and is battery-driven. It costs just £25 a week to recharge the battery as opposed to £110 spent on fuel for a diesel vehicle.
The current vehicles are prototypes and the manufacturer reckons it can a significant amount of weight out boosting payload and performance further. It plans to follow up the Newton with a 3.5 tonne panel van.