Iceland to trial 5.5-tonne electric truck in home delivery fleet

Iceland is to trial a 5.5-tonne Paneltex electric truck on its home delivery fleet, thanks to a Government project.

Iceland will deploy a Paneltex all-electric truck on a 5.5t Isuzu chassis for the project. The vehicle will be fitted with Sunamp’s cold storage technology, making use of Route Monkey's EV optimisation algorithms for journey planning. The fourth consortium member, the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP), is involved in dissemination of project results. It is targeting a significant improvement in the range, payload and performance of EVs used for chilled goods logistics.

The trial is part of a £38 million initiative funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

Andrew Bissell, CEO of Sunamp said: “The partnership’s combined technology has the potential to be a genuine game-changer. If it proves as successful as we expect, it will have far-reaching applications in refrigerated vehicles and beyond.”

Sunamp, the project’s lead partner, will effectively invert its heat batteries to create a new cold storage technology that can maintain the required ambient temperature in the vehicle’s cargo area. The Sunamp system has a better power to weight ratio and is more efficient than using Li-Ion batteries, helping to increase the vehicle’s payload capabilities by reducing the size of the traction battery pack.

This trial builds on Sunamp’s research and development, under previous Innovate UK funding of heat batteries, for heating and air conditioning in electric cars and buses, with benefits in extending the useful range of these EVs at low cost.

Route Monkey’s EVOS software optimises EV range by calculating factors such as route topography and scheduling deliveries of heavier loads at the beginning of the day. It will also plan the demo vehicle’s deliveries in accordance with Iceland’s two-hour customer time windows.

For this trial, Route Monkey’s dynamic optimisation of the demonstrator will include the capabilities to react to traffic congestion, factor in weather conditions, and – in case of emergency - schedule a top-up charge of the batteries and cold storage Heat Batteries at the nearest available charging point.

Trakm8’s telematics will provide real-time data including monitoring the ambient temperature and battery state of charge. Route Monkey’s heuristic algorithms are self-learning, meaning they will evolve and further improve their problem-solving abilities, as the trial progresses.

Colin Ferguson, CEO of Route Monkey, said: “Fundamentally, our goal is to make electric vans and trucks a far more attractive option for chilled goods home delivery fleets.”

The project is looking for more fleets to participate in the trials. Anyone interested should contact 01875 610001.

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