Branston EV trial success leads to permanent fixture

By Bethan Grylls

- Last updated on GMT

Paul Donkin has driven forward plans for electric vehicles at Branston
Paul Donkin has driven forward plans for electric vehicles at Branston

Related tags Investment Climate change

Leading UK potato supplier, Branston, has introduced its first, fully electric truck into its fleet following a successful trial in June.

The permanent addition of a Volvo FM Electric 4x2 truck to its fleet forms part of Branston’s plan to be net zero by 2035​.

“This is a fantastic milestone for us to introduce our first electric vehicle (EV) to our transport network. After the trial, we knew we could start to integrate an EV into the fleet, and initially we’ll be using it to do regular depot deliveries to Livingston as well as a few farm trips to test the mileage and efficiency,”​ said Paul Donkin, group transport manager at Branston.

The company is now training its drivers, as operating an EV is “quite different to a standard diesel truck” along with investing in driver training to ensure that the rest of its fleet is driven as efficiently as possible.

“We can achieve a saving of 20% on miles per gallon when cruise control and acceleration are used strategically, which all helps to bring costs and carbon down,” ​added Donkin.

When compared to a traditional diesel truck, the Volvo FM Electric 4x2 truck could save up to 50 tonnes of carbon emissions each year, provided the correct infrastructure was in place UK-wide for maximum charging efficiency.

“One of the challenges will be the infrastructure, or lack of it in some places,” continued Donkin. “While we can do what we can as a business to work towards net zero, without infrastructure across the country keeping pace, there’s only so far we can go.”

Branston will therefore be investing in a fast charger at its Scottish site, which reduces charging time from 10 hours to just two hours. 

“[We] will be monitoring the performance of the EV to determine our next steps,”​ he said.

“We’re open minded to all avenues and know there are many routes we can take, including a hybrid approach combining EVs and hydrogen powered vehicles. This is just one of many changes we expect in our transportation of spuds in the next 10 to 15 years.” 

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