Getting Albert Heijn’s e-trucks charged and back on the road: Netherlands

February 28, 2020

Challenge

The Dutch transport sector has set an ambitious target to reduce 7.3 megatons of CO2 emissions by 2030, thus increasing the pressure to find efficient and sustainable solutions for transporting goods. Several smaller e-trucks were already used to distribute goods to stores, but to fully charge an empty battery took 70 minutes – scoring high on sustainability but low efficiency. There was also a need to be able to charge longer and heavier e-truck/trailer combinations.

Solution

Heliox joined forces with DAF Trucks, transport companies Peter Appel Transport and Simon Loos, TNO - the Dutch Research Organization, and Albert Heijn – the largest supermarket in the Netherlands, to develop a field trial demonstrating the use of electrical and plug-in hybrid trucks for zero-emission supermarket distribution.  Supported by DKTI (Demonstration policy for climate technologies and innovation in transportation), the pilot focused on Albert Heijn’s distribution center in Zaandam. Albert Heijn already had a strong focus on sustainability, using longer trucks to carry extra loads and working with carefully planned routes to maximize efficiency. 

An area was reserved for multiple chargers at the distribution center to improve logistics and allow trucks to quickly drive in and charge batteries while goods are being loaded. Heliox installed a 300 KW charger, modified two existing 300 KW chargers with a Smart Switch, and added two liquid-cooled CCS2 columns per charger. The cooler the charging cable, the faster the charge. The liquid-cooled cables reduced the 70-minute charge to just 35-minutes to charge an empty battery. Actual charging times would be shorter as batteries are never entirely empty when in operational use. 

Albert Heijn generates its electricity supply for the chargers via solar panels situated in and around the distribution center, using any excess electricity for cooling and lighting.

Outcome

This project was all about collaborative learning every day along the journey towards zero-emissions distribution on a large scale. The step to 300 kW charging with a liquid-cooled installation is crucial for our highly intensive process to supply supermarkets 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Quick charging solutions enable the electric trucks to become an easy match for diesel trucks, but completely emission-free and quiet