Menzies Distribution is accelerating its electric vehicle (EV) strategy with a 12-month trial of a pre-production, all-electric Ford Transit van. One of a small number in the UK at present, the vehicle offers a load cube that mirrors its diesel counterpart and has been identified by the group as suitable for newstrade, express and parcel operations.
Menzies will test the E-Transit and its existing charging infrastructure, reconciling manufacturer statistics with its own on-the-road assessment. The test will engage both the Menzies Newstrade and Express operations.
This will provide varied routes, mixed terrain, different speeds and, at times, vast mileage ranges, all of which have a bearing on battery life. Data obtained from the test will inform blueprints for all Menzies sites and their EV resources.
The Ford E-Transit being tested is the L3 H3 425 GVM model. This features a 68kWh battery and 135KW (184PS) motor which deliver an estimated range of up to 154-183 miles (248-296km).
Ford Pro E-Telematics help to enhance driver performance with in-vehicle coaching, while new auto stop-start technology reduces wear on brakes. Menzies presently has around 90 charging locations in its network, making it one of the UK’s largest commercial EV charging infrastructures.
Adam Purshall, Menzies Fleet and Procurement Director, said: “We are excited to have this opportunity to push the E-Transit and our infrastructure as hard as we can to fully understand the limitations of both and work with the manufacturer to deliver the future of EV technology.
“The transport department is ready to embrace this trial with open arms, and the buy-in of drivers and staff is key to its success.”
Fleet is one of the three main pillars within the Menzies Distribution Sustainability pledge, alongside ‘energy consumption’ and ‘reuse and recycling’ for the business and its partners.
This year Menzies announced plans to become Net Zero for Scope 1 and 2 emissions by no later than 2035. This is 15 years ahead of the target date set under the Paris Agreement and in UK legislation. Hopefully, after the initial trials of the E-Transit, Menzies will look to convert their fleet to zero emissions vehicles.