Scania has been making significant strides in the transition towards electric mobility across the globe. The company has rolled out electric trucks and buses on four continents, and in August 2022, the Shoprite Group became the first South African retailer to pilot a heavy-duty electric truck as part of its fleet. What makes this particular truck unique is that it features a special “glow in the dark” signage that absorbs particles when exposed to light, allowing it to be visible at night.
The electric Scania used by the Shoprite Group has no reliance on fossil fuels and emits no carbon dioxide. The refrigerated truck has a capacity of around 16 pallets and is powered by a single electric motor that provides 230kW of power. The truck’s 300kWh battery helps provide a range of up to 250km on a single charge. The truck is used for local deliveries and has solar panels fitted to the roof. It tops up in about 90 minutes via a 130kW charger, using renewable energy generated by Shoprite’s existing solar installations. A fully electric cooling system is also powered by the vehicle’s battery packs.
The addition of the new electric truck is part of Shoprite Group’s efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its supply chain. The group’s fleet currently includes over 900 trucks and 1,360 trailers, of which the majority are fitted with solar panels that enable the refrigeration and tailgate lift to continue to run on solar power even when the truck is switched off.
Scania’s electric truck presence in South Africa signifies that the market is ready to take on these kinds of vehicles. However, the truck is just one small part of everything else that needs to be in place to be sales-ready for selling E-Truck solutions. According to Darren Brown, Market Exploration Manager for Scania’s E-Truck Solution Sales Readiness team, “We’re focusing on the mindset that it’s a big new ecosystem and the truck is but one part of it. Actually, the truck is not really the hard thing to implement - it’s everything else connected to the truck.”
The successful implementation of electric trucks requires a change in the entire ecosystem. Market conditions need to be right, and sales teams need to be trained and prepared to maintain customers’ electric vehicles. Scania is taking on the role of a solutions provider, helping customers through the journey of implementing an electrified transport system.
Scania’s electric trucks hold the potential to reinvigorate South Africa’s transport industry, marking a new era for the industry. As Mark Templeton, Sustainability Manager for Scania South Africa, explains, “Scania has passed a number of milestones on our electrification roadmap, and we are confident we can offer our customers a credible alternative to vehicles with internal combustion engines.” The acquisition of this electric truck by the Shoprite Group is a significant move towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.