Electra’s refrigerated 19-tonne hydrogen truck completes successful zero emissions trial with major UK supermarket Sainsbury’s

WCRAQ member Electra’s first refrigerated hydrogen truck has successfully completed a three-month trial with major UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s.

The 19-tonne zero-emission Electra eCargo FCEV truck travelled a typical round trip of 208 miles from Sainsbury’s depot in Sherburn-on-Elmet to Newcastle and back as part of the Road to Hydrogen project. This government-funded initiative is focused on helping the UK solve challenges around zero-emissions road freight, linked to the Teeside Multi-Modal Transport Hydrogen Hub.

Hydrogen for the trial was supplied by Element 2, the company building the UK’s national network of hydrogen refuelling stations, and trial data shows that the HGV used approximately 65% of its hydrogen capacity per trip, giving it an approximate operational daily range of 320 miles on one fill of hydrogen.

The truck also emitted zero tailpipe emissions during its operation. The equivalent diesel truck completing the same journey would have emitted an average of 314kg of CO2 per day.

Electra built the vehicle on a 19-tonne GVW 4×2 glider chassis with a multi-temperature insulated body by Solomon, complete with a Carrier Transicold TRS Iceland electric refrigeration unit, powerbox inverter, and a Dhollandia tail-lift. Power comes from 225kWh battery packs, which are charged by a Proton Motors 44kW Hydrogen fuel cell fed by 20kg of onboard Hydrogen, carried in four cylinders at 350 bar. Additionally, the vehicle is fitted with two x AC/DC charging units.

‘I am thrilled with the truck’s performance during its tour in the Tees Valley area,’ says Sid Sadique, Founder and Chairman of Electra Commercial Vehicles. ‘Seeing something that was just a vision for the future on paper over a year ago now becoming a reality is fantastic and takes the UK and Europe another step closer to reaching critical decarbonisation ambitions.

‘We could not have made this a success without our partner Element 2, which provided a robust hydrogen refuelling infrastructure for the project. I hope that what we have achieved together gives transport operators the confidence to switch to hydrogen sooner rather than later.’

The completion of the trial represents a milestone in the road to decarbonising UK road transport, believes Tim Harper, CEO of Element 2. ‘Electra’s truck has demonstrated how hydrogen can provide a viable alternative to diesel for fleet owners and operators – particularly for heavy goods haulage thanks to its superior range capabilities. We were thrilled to supply the hydrogen and refuelling infrastructure needed for the trial. We will continue to work hand-in-glove with Electra to help customers reach their carbon emission reduction targets quickly.’

Sainsbury’s is committed to reducing the carbon footprint of its vehicle fleet, and the trial played a pivotal role in the development of its strategy, according to Gary King, Head of Engineering and Compliance at the supermarket chain. ‘Achieving zero carbon emissions for a regular haulage route is a significant initial step and will inform future decision making.’

He added that the Electra eCargo truck received positive feedback from drivers participating in the trial, with drivers praising its quiet operation and ease of driving. ‘After the first few runs, range anxiety was diminished.’

Electra is already building hydrogen vehicles for specialist HGV operations, including winter maintenance and the airport sectors, and is continuing to develop its range of electric vehicles.