Empowering sustainable logistics: Sligro's journey towards electric trucks

In the bustling streets of Amsterdam, there is a silent revolution happening behind the scenes and on the roads. Sligro Food Group, a pioneering force in the realm of food service businesses in The Netherlands and Belgium, is transforming the way goods are being transported.

Their story isn't just about delivering delectable treats to their customer, it's also about transforming the transportation of goods, one electric truck at a time, or rather 25 at once.

At the heart of Sligro's vision lies a deep commitment to sustainability. By recognizing the urgent need to embrace greener business practices, they embarked on a bold mission to electrify their fleet.

"Our ambition is to replace as many diesel trucks as possible, not only in Amsterdam but throughout the Netherlands."
Mark Stabel, Technical buyer at Sligro Food Group

Step by step, Sligro is making strides in integrating electric vehicles into their operations. With 26 electric trucks already in service and 25 more to come, they are laying the groundwork for a future where diesel trucks become a thing of the past. Its distribution center on the outskirts of Amsterdam, will serve as a blueprint for the entire company on the feasibility of electric trucks in urban logistics.

Innovating charging infrastructure

However, transitioning to electric vehicles isn't just about swapping engines. Sligro started implementing charging infrastructure in 2023, utilizing overnight and opportunity charging to keep their fleet fully operational and powered throughout the day.

Copyright: Sligro Food Group/Sander van der Veen.

Overnight charging is often conducted at depots during off-peak periods, presenting a cost-effective option for fleet operators due to vehicles being parked for extended periods. In contrast, opportunity charging is the rapid recharging of electric vehicles during short periods of inactivity or breaks, maximizing uptime and flexibility.

With the Heliox Flex charging system, Sligro has implemented a nuanced approach to charging. Recognizing that the range of their electric vehicles exceeds their daily mileage, they strategically manage their charging schedules to align with operational needs, effectively reducing peak demand and navigating grid limitations.

How is this done?

Sligro optimizes charging schedules by focusing on achieving the optimal state of charge (SoC) for each vehicle and route. This careful approach ensures they start their delivery day fully prepared in the morning, rather than fixating on achieving a 100% charge every day.

The lunch break serves as an opportune moment to replenish the charge of the trucks that weren't fully charged in the morning. With ample power available on-site during this time, trucks can recharge at full capacity, ensuring they're primed for the afternoon routes. This strategic approach not only minimizes downtime but also maximizes the utilization of charging infrastructure within limited grid capacity.

As Mark Stabel emphasizes, "The trucks must have charged with enough power to drive the expected route, based on smart scheduling , 100% is not always necessary." This commitment to punctuality is non-negotiable, given the contractual obligations with their partners.

Along the way they have also discovered valuable lessons, such as driver behavior and how it plays  a crucial role in maximizing the range of electric vehicles.  With smoother driving habits, greater efficiency and extended range of their batteries  can be achieved.

Copyright: Kersten Techniek.

Moreover, Sligro's forward-thinking approach extends beyond just embracing electric vehicles. By strategically placing charging outlets and optimizing charging schedules, they've minimized the need for additional infrastructure while ensuring seamless operations and a smaller footprint for charging lots.  

By integrating these learnings into their operations, Sligro is not only reducing emissions but also optimizing their fleet for maximum performance and sustainability.

Into a greener future

With a sizeable truck fleet, Sligro has set ambitious goals and envision a future where every vehicle runs on electricity. Their journey is not just about reducing emissions but about shaping a more sustainable future for generations to come.

"This depot is a kind of blueprint if it's possible to charge 50 trucks with 36 outlets. We want to have more electric trucks." Mark Stabel, Sligro.

Indeed, their journey is a testament to the power of innovation and collaboration in driving meaningful change. As they continue to pave the way towards a greener tomorrow, Sligro pioneers innovation in the quest for a more sustainable future.

One of the critical insights that has emerged from their journey is the realization that there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to charging infrastructure. Instead, they have adopted a tailored approach that aligns with their operational needs and sustainability goals.

Talk to a Heliox EV Charging ExpertDownload our electric truck report
Share this post
Download our electric truck report
No items found.
Share this post

Stay in the loop

Provide your email to be notified about new blog posts

Subscribe to our blog