Photo credits @ Girteka

Girteka wraps up first tests with electric lorries and trailers

Lithuanian road transport giant Girteka, in collaboration with Nestle, Volvo, Schmitz Cargobull and BP Pulse, has conducted tests of an all-electric lorry and an electric trailer. The pilot established that the HGV charging infrastructure is a critical aspect of the transition to electromobility.

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In its search for sustainable solutions in logistics, Girteka and its partners decided to test an all-electric lorry (BEV) and an electric trailer. The set-up was to be used primarily for fast deliveries.

According to the haulier, there are still uncertainties about where and how electric lorries can be deployed. More and more companies are already trialling them in an attempt to combine the needs of customers, the capabilities of manufacturers and the capacity and availability of charging infrastructure.

The path to decarbonisation cannot be pursued alone. It requires an unprecedented level of cooperation, Viktorija Terekė, Director of Sustainability at Girteka, emphasised.

The tests established that a critical aspect of the transition to electromobility is infrastructure, as access to charging stations and service facilities for electric and alternative fuel vehicles would be essential.

Mathias Fleischer, supply chain director at Nestlé, highlighted the progress of electrification in road transport, but also the obstacles that still exist.

Electric transport has come a huge way if you look back over the past years and today. We can now cover distances of up to 250 and 300 kilometres, which allows us to do a lot more than in earlier years. However, we need to improve the charging equipment, and find a way to charge and load optimally, Fleischer emphasised.

Given the structure of today’s heavy goods transport, there is hope, adds Girteka.

Stefan Widlund, head of electromobility at Volvo Trucks, points out that 45% of goods transported by HGVs in Europe travel less than 300 km a day. 

It’s a range that we can easily handle today without charging. If you then charge (the truck – editor’s note), you have a much longer range. We have examples of our trucks covering up to 640 km a day, with the possibility of recharging during the day. It takes 90 minutes to charge the batteries from 0 to 80 per cent, but in many cases, you only need 30 to 80 per cent during the day. And that means it can be done during a scheduled 45-minute break,” Widlund explains.

According to Harry Baxter, Director of Electric Vehicle Fleet Sales at BP Pulse in Europe, the path to an efficient EV charging network is determined by a collaboration involving different industries, innovators and decision-makers. 

Through such strategic partnerships, we are responding to the urgent need for more charging stations. We are building a large network where high-power charging is required. These charging points can be used by trucks with trailers weighing 40 tonnes. There is no need to disconnect trailers from them, so there is no extended downtime and the load is in an unsecured location. This makes operations much smoother and safer, Baxter adds.