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NHS supply chain piloting DAF fully electric trucks

The NHS will soon be receiving medical consumable products delivered by a fleet of eight fully electric trucks, as part of the Department for Transport’s £10 million Battery Electric Truck Trial (BETT).

NHS Supply Chain in partnership with its logistics provider Unipart Logistics is one of the key operators in the 12-month pilot project which is seeing 20 DAF LF Electric trucks using pioneering technology entering service with the NHS and local authorities.

NHS Supply Chain is commencing use of eight 19 tonne LF Electric rigids with refrigerated bodies at four locations across the country: Bury St Edmunds, Normanton, Rugby and Alfreton. It will feed back real time performance data for the zero emission vehicles.

The BETT focuses on vehicles, charging infrastructure, user training, repair and maintenance, and total-cost-of- ownership, providing operational insight across a variety of duty cycles. It is part of the Government’s wider £20 million zero emission road freight trials and is delivered using the Small Business Research Initiative, a process bringing together government challenges and ideas from business to create innovative solutions.

NHS Supply Chain’s Director of Supply Chain Chris Holmes said: “It is really exciting to be part of one of the largest and most significant deployments of zero emission heavy goods vehicles in the UK to date. Everything on our zero emission vehicles is electric, even the refrigeration units. 

“Driving down our carbon emissions is one of our top priorities and this is just one of the ways we’re supporting the NHS to achieve their net zero target by 2045, which has wide ranging health benefits for us all, not least around air quality.”

Claire Salmon, Unipart Logistics NHS Supply Chain Director, added: “We are excited to be working with our customer NHS Supply Chain to run the Battery Electric Truck Trial, which also supports the Unipart UN Race To Zero commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030 and net zero by 2050. The trial will provide us with valuable insight into operating fully-electric vehicles of this size as part of our fleet, so we can understand how best to facilitate a charging network, driver training and the potential to grow this technology in the future. We are committed to delivering a safe and sustainable service in support of our frontline care customers.”

The trucks have entered day-to-day operations while at the same time gathering real-time performance data; the results from which will be used in an interactive website to inform future fleet operator buying decisions and help stimulate the sale of battery electric trucks. With the Government having set ambitious targets to end the sale of non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles from 2035 (for vehicles of 26-tonne Gross Vehicle Weight – the maximum weight of the vehicle plus the load and below, and 2040 for heavier vehicles) the BETT is expected to make a significant and positive impact upon the move to zero emission vehicles.   

All the vehicles in the trial feature the distinctive Battery Electric Truck Trial logo.

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