A Renault Trucks E-Tech D Wide 4x2 curtainside rigid is the latest addition to the family-run Welch’s Transport fleet. The Cambridgeshire-based business will use its first 19-tonne BEV for final mile net zero deliveries in Cambridge. The truck will operate from its new urban consolidation centre which aims to minimise the number of polluting HGVs travelling into the city centre.
As orginally reported by our sister publication Commercial Motor, director of Welch’s Transport, Chris Welch, said: “The arrival of our new electric Renault Trucks E-Tech D Wide will help the City Council and businesses in the city centre realise their Net Zero climate ambitions. Multi-national transport and logistics companies must account for vehicle range and available charging infrastructure when plotting out electric vehicle routes for cities like Cambridge, and we are ideally positioned to integrate fully electric vehicles into our fleet due to the prime location depot in Duxford and our newly installed charging station.”
The new BEV is running a route between 100 to 160 miles a day. For longer routes or triple shifts across a 24-hour period the vehicle is charged at a 150kW supercharger on site. This was installed by Renault Trucks’ commercial partner Allports Group and is said to be the first publicly accessible HGV charging point in the UK.
Chris explained the rationale behind investing in the company’s first BEV: “We worked with the Energy Saving Trust at the end of 2022 where they undertook an ‘electrification study’ of our main depot assessing the whole fleet transition to EV, the mileage milestones needed for the different vehicle classes, the site’s power and charging infrastructure as well as other steps to help us to move towards Net Zero long before 2050. Transitioning to electric also gives us access to emerging final mile delivery markets that BEV is very suited to.”
The E-Tech D Wide has a Bevan curtain-sided body and a Dhollandia 2-tonne slider taillift. It’s powered by 265kWh E-Tech traction batteries with four battery packs of 66kW each. The vehicle is equipped with the global cab, adjustable roof deflector, ENXL trailer curtains and along with a full repair and maintenance contract has a five-year subscription to Renault Trucks’ Optifleet telematics system.
Discussing the importance of getting an E-Tech, Welch said: “Renault Trucks make up 95% of our current fleet, so it was an easy decision to select their E-Tech. We’ve been a Renault Trucks customer and franchise for just over 15 years, operating as a Service Dealer within the group with the premises based on the same site as our main transport depot. We’ve also achieved Renault Trucks EV Truck Service Dealer status, so we naturally wanted our technicians to be one of the first to fully maintain an operational BEV Renault Truck.”
He added: “We’re also using the E-Tech to trial Renault Trucks’ Optifleet which gives us additional information on electrical performance and usage, enabling us to understand what the vehicle is capable of and the need to track mpkwh over mpg.”
Elsewhere in the business, Welch’s Transport already has electric company cars and is hoping to switch its parts, pool and technician vans in its truck centre operation to electric in the near future.
Chris said: “We are aiming to drive electrification of the local supply chain by providing urban consolidation services and last mile to Greater Cambridge through fully electric vehicles. We are also working with Renault Trucks’ LCV Division, trialling the E-Tech Master OptiModale van and Freegônes e-cargo bike to tackle the ‘last metre’ and HGV last mile deliveries. Our aim is to start with trials in Q4 with potential consolidation zones in Cambridge and then deploy an additional number of LCVs and HGVs in 2024.”