The Electric Freightway programme has reached a significant milestone with the delivery of the first fully electric Heavy Goods Vehicles (eHGVs) to AF Blakemore & Son, a major player in the UK’s retail and foodservice sectors. This initiative, part of the Zero Emission HGV and Infrastructure Demonstrator Programme (ZEHID), is funded by the Department for Transport and executed in collaboration with Innovate UK, aiming to establish a nationwide charging network for electric trucks.


Source: Gridserve

left to right: James Comer (Hitachi ZeroCarbon), Sam Clarke (GRIDSERVE), Andy Wilmot (A.F. Blakemore & Son), James Evitts (A.F. Blakemore & Son), Alistair Barnes (Innovate UK) and Dave Higgs (A.F. Blakemore & Son)

As one of 33 consortium members, AF Blakemore & Son is actively participating in this initiative to decarbonise heavy goods transport. The programme, spearheaded by electric vehicle Charging specialists GRIDSERVE and principal partner Hitachi ZeroCarbon, focuses on vehicle data collection, analysis, and reporting to pave the way for a sustainable transport future.

AF Blakemore & Son, a multi-generational family business and the largest Spar wholesaler in the UK, operates an extensive delivery fleet. The recent addition of two Volvo FM Electric tractor units from Hartshorne Group and Volvo Trucks signifies a significant step toward reducing carbon emissions. With each vehicle boasting a 540kWh battery, three electric motors delivering 675hp, and a maximum range of 185 miles, they directly replace diesel-powered trucks, resulting in substantial environmental benefits.

The integration of these eHGVs is estimated to save 45,000 litres of diesel and prevent over 120 tonnes of carbon dioxide (co2) emissions annually. Data collected from the vehicles will provide insights into battery performance, vehicle load, terrain conditions, and environmental impacts, aiding the company in assessing the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of electric HGVs compared to diesel counterparts on existing routes.

“We are thrilled to be at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution in the convenience retail sector,” said Caoire Blakemore, AF Blakemore’s Responsible Business Director. ”The addition of these electric HGVs demonstrates our commitment to reducing our environmental impact. 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.”

“This is a proud day for everybody involved in the Electric Freightway programme,” said Sam Clarke, Chief Vehicle Officer at GRIDSERVE, ”and very soon GRIDSERVE will be installing the depot charging that will support these impressive trucks. AF 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.”