FSEW orders UK’s first electric tractor units from DAF Trucks 09 July 2021

Geoff Tomlinson, MD of Freight Systems Express Wales

DAF Trucks has received an order for two new DAF CF Electric tractor units from Cardiff-based international freight forwarders Freight Systems Express Wales (FSEW). It is the UK’s first order for battery electric heavy tractor units, as well as a first order for DAF Trucks and its new zero-emissions product offering.

Right-hand-drive, UK-ready DAF CF Electric and LF Electric trucks are now available to order in the UK, with models including a CF Electric 37.0-tonne GCW tractor unit and a 27-tonne GVW 6x2 rigid, alongside an LF Electric at 19.0-tonnes GVW. The CF Electric 4x2 features a 210kW electric motor generating 2,000Nm torque. Battery capacity is 350kWh, 315kWh effective, providing a 220km range. The truck has a 3.8m wheelbase and weighs 9t.

FSEW’s new DAF CF Electric represents the company’s first major step towards its objective of switching to a fleet-wide zero-emissions transport operation. In collaboration with decarbonisation consultants Egnida and DAF Trucks’ own electric vehicle experts, the partnership embarked upon a month-long appraisal of all aspects of FSEW’s business, encompassing detailed journey analysis and comparison of potential vehicle and charging options, including ongoing support capability.

The results were used by Egnida to create a profitable low-carbon business model for FSEW to extract maximum benefits from the DAF CF Electric and provide a zero-emissions service demanded by FSEW's own customers. Driven by their appetite for decarbonisation, the two DAF CF Electric trucks now on order form part of an ambitious plan for FSEW to replace more than 40 diesel vehicles with low-carbon alternatives.

In addition, DAF Trucks offers its own dedicated ‘pre-sales’ programme to ensure customers select the right truck and charging solution to maximise the benefits of electrification, including site assessments, energy modelling, route simulation, and practical guidance on charging infrastructure, ‘smart’ and efficient battery recharging.

Once the two CF Electrics are bedded-in, FSEW says it will introduce a further ten vehicles to reduce its carbon emissions by more than 50% in the next nine months. The company says its longer-term aim will be to hit ‘net-zero’ in two-and-a-half years.

“It’s a change of mindset,” said FSEW managing director Geoff Tomlinson. “It’s a journey which began two-and-a-half years ago and one in which the whole business is engaged. If these trucks perform as they should – and we’re fully confident of that following the painstaking evaluation programme – then we’ll be in for another ten DAF CFs.

“DAF Trucks and the local dealer in Cardiff, Watts Truck & Van, have been very receptive to our requirements. Their can-do attitude has helped enormously in our journey here today and we’re very much looking forward to strengthening the relationship. As a business owner involved in road transport, and as a father of two small children, I have a huge opportunity, and an obligation, to make a positive impact on our environment and I’m enormously excited at the prospect of leading the switch to zero-emissions transport.”

DAF Trucks has also brought to market a range of battery-charging solutions to support its new LF Electric and CF Electric trucks. The range of PACCAR battery-chargers may also be used with other electric commercial vehicles, including vans. PACCAR mobile battery-chargers are for roadside assistance or in workshops where maximum flexibility is needed in the charging infrastructure.

Fixed charging stations are available with power levels ranging from 20kW up to 360kW. To provide maximum flexibility, a range of mobile battery-chargers are offered with power levels from 24kW up to 40kW. Charging capability of between 20kW to 50kW can support the daily operations of an individual truck charged during the evening or overnight, according to DAF. Where fast-charging is critical, 120kW and 180kW PACCAR battery-chargers are an ideal solution for fleets operating electric vehicles on multiple routes or across multiple shifts. The 180kW PACCAR unit delivers power to charge most truck types in under three hours. The top-rated 350 kW PACCAR charger is an ultra-fast solution that can charge vehicles at full power in less than two hours or can be deployed to fast charge two vehicles simultaneously, it adds.

Transport Engineer

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