Electric delivery trucks aren’t ready to handle the long haul that semi-trucks drive, but these trucks could be ideal for the miles between a distribution center and the retail store. Two companies already employ electric delivery trucks to bring products to grocery stores in major markets. Is this the start of the move forward in electric transportation of goods? Possibly.
A Giant change with electric trucks in the DC Metro area
Giant Food is a grocery change in the Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and DC areas. This regional food chain provides a perfect testing ground for electric grocery delivery to stores in the area. Currently, Giant is the Baltimore region’s largest grocery store chain, and they’ve recently added electric trucks to their fleet.
As reported by The Baltimore Sun, with the help of a grant from the Clean Fuels Incentive Program, Giant has begun the move toward an all-electric fleet. This began with a new electric step-van that joins the fleet of 128 trucks serving the Giant Foods grocery chain. Giant purchased these new EV delivery trucks from Motiv Power Systems, a sustainable technology company, to make daily deliveries to the Giant stores in the region.
Gatik takes electric trucks further in the Dallas area
Gatik offers a similar program to Giant but takes things a few steps farther. This company is an autonomous vehicle startup with a unique goal. They’re working to get products to stores faster and more frequently than what full-size semi-trucks can offer. A fleet of 26-foot box trucks instead of a full-size semi-trailer handles this job.
Tech Crunch reported the Gatik trucks are more than simple electric trucks; they’re autonomous. Gatik calls the delivery focus the “middle mile,” which is the miles between the distribution center and the retail stores. These autonomous electric trucks will begin delivering paper products to several different Sam’s Club locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in July.
How many stores will Gatik trucks serve?
The multi-year partnership between Gatik and Wal-Mart allows these trucks to deliver goods 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to 34 Sam’s Club locations. These autonomous trucks will travel up to 300 miles per day. Using the smaller trucks means a high frequency of deliveries because smaller trucks fill up faster while the larger trailer often waits at the distribution center until completely full.
The partnership began in Bentonville, Arkansas
Bentonville, Arkansas, is home to Wal-Mart headquarters. This is where Gatik launched a pilot program in 2019 to deliver goods from midsized fulfillment centers to the neighborhood markets in the area. After that, Gatik began delivering in Louisiana with a fully driverless operation. This means the company received approval to drive without a safety driver behind the wheel.
Do electric trucks bring products to stores near you?
You might not think about how the peanut butter jar gets on the shelf, but if you did, you might be amazed at what you’d discover. Using electric trucks for the route from the distribution center to the store is a step toward fewer pollutants expelled into the atmosphere and less reliance on gas and diesel fuel.
It could be several years before electric semis are effective at driving long distances. Still, at least two companies have put electric trucks to work for regional deliveries, one using autonomous trucks for the task.