Photo credits @ JOLT

UK decarbonisation scheme seeks hauliers for electric lorry trials

A new UK decarbonisation scheme called Project JOLT is seeking hauliers to participate in trials of electric lorries. Led by The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight, the initiative aims to gather data on the feasibility of electrifying the logistics sector and reducing carbon emissions.

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Project JOLT(Joint Operator Logistics Trial) brings together industry leaders including John Lewis Partnership, Volvo Trucks UK, and Flexible Power Systems, a company specialising in electric vehicle fleet management software.

“The electrification of the UK’s commercial fleets needs to happen urgently. Freight is hugely important; it contributed £13.6 billion to the economy in 2022. 98% of our food and agricultural products are carried by road, mostly on HGVs. However, HGVs also account for 20% of CO2 emissions from domestic transport. Electrifying the UK’s HGV fleet would be the same as removing 13 million cars from our roads,” JOLT explains.

Universities of Cambridge and Heriot-Watt will play a key role in analysing data collected during the trials. This data will include vehicle and charger performance, operational efficiency, and costs across various logistics applications.

“A key feature of this project is understanding how the different range and load capabilities of electric heavy goods vehicles – as well as downtime for charging – will affect the efficiency of operators and supply chains. We’ll do this by analysing logistics data and technical information collected through sophisticated computer simulations known as digital twins, to help us understand operations at scale,” said Professor Philip Greening, an expert in sustainable transport and logistics at Heriot-Watt University and co-director of The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight.

John Lewis Partnership is the first confirmed participant, testing a Volvo FM 4×2 tractor unit capable of carrying 42 tonnes and travelling up to 300km on a single charge. Additionally, Project JOLT will utilise digital twins – computer simulations – to model large-scale operations and understand how electric HGV range, load capacity, and charging times will impact logistics efficiency.

The project welcomes further participation from haulage companies. Those interested can contact the SRF or Flexible Power Systems for more information.