Picture of the Week: Lidl Ireland – First food retailer to launch Electric & HVO powered trucks into Logistic Fleet

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*Industry first that sees retailer launch Electric powered trucks and Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO) heavy goods vehicles into logistics fleet

Lidl Ireland has begun the rollout of the first Electric powered truck and Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO) Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) into the retailer’s logistics fleet. The pilot scheme will see the sustainably powered vehicles join Lidl’s logistic fleet at the retailer’s Newbridge Regional Distribution Centre (RDC), commencing the retailer’s transition from fossil fuel commercial vehicles to more environmentally friendly vehicles.  Furthering Lidl’s commitment to becoming a carbon neutral business by 2025, alongside the ongoing journey to a 46% reduction in its operational emissions by 2030.

This move is a first in the Irish food retail industry in conjunction with refrigerated delivery suppliers, Zellwood Ltd.  The introduction of the new logistics trucks is the initial steps to a larger rollout across the retailer’s logistics fleet that deliver to Lidl’s four distribution centres and over 200 Lidl stores throughout the island of Ireland, on a daily basis. In 2021, Lidl Irelands logistic fleet covered over 16.8million kilometres which is the equivalent to 21 return trips to the moon.

Lidl Ireland have already been working to improve lowering their carbon footprint by actively participating in fuel use monitoring and reduction schemes over the past number of years, which has seen substantial reduction, even in fossil fuel use through a best-in-class fleet and engines used for Lidl deliveries.

At the launch of the new vehicles into Lidl’s logistics fleet, and highlighting Lidl’s position as Ireland’s most sustainable retailer Robert Ryan, Chief Operating Officer, Lidl Ireland & Northern Ireland (pictured above left) said: “At Lidl we take our role in society seriously and strive to go above and beyond to make a positive difference, delivering real change through innovation and investment. As a leading retailer it is our responsibility to not only offer the best service and price for our customers, suppliers, and communities, but to protect the environment and build a successful, sustainable future. We are delighted to be the first retailer in Ireland to incorporate positive change by use of these environmentally friendly haulage trucks into our logistics fleet. Not only does it accelerate our journey to cleaner roads, but in turn with the soaring cost of fossil fuels like diesel it will keep prices down for our customers. We are looking forward to the journey ahead to scale up adaption across our entire fleet aligning to our sustainable environmental commitments and goals.”

Having already made the switch to purchasing 100% green energy in 2018, Lidl is supporting a switch to renewable energy generation by committing to retrofitting solar panelling across its stores and regional distribution centres. Lidl’s first electric powered truck will take to the roads in July this year and will be powered by 100% fully traceable renewable solar generated electricity that is produced at the Newbridge regional distribution centres and will accelerate the retailers’ transition to a zero-emission fleet.

The Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO) vehicle, is currently part of the fleet and will reduce emissions by 90% per trip by using 100% renewable fuel produced by the hydrotreatment of vegetable oil that create a fuel product with the same chemical structure as diesel. The sustainably fuelled truck is estimated to reduce emissions in the order of 121.75t carbon dioxide equivalents (tCO2e) in a full year’s deliveries and will also see benefits such as the reduction of particulates and NOx (Noxious diesel emissions) which are hazardous emissions that naturally occur from the use of fossil fuels in vehicles.

With more than 25 years’ experience in the haulage industry, Zellwood is one of the leading providers of ambient, chilled and frozen logistics solutions throughout Ireland and has been working with Lidl Ireland for the last 7 years.

Commenting on the development William Flanagan, Managing Director, Zellwood Ltd. (pictured above right) said: “We have been working closely with the logistics team at Lidl over the past few years to ensure their fleet is encompassing the business objectives for fast reliable livery while delivering a pragmatic approach to cleaner roads in Ireland. This is an exciting time for logistics as we now are seeing the introduction of environmentally friendly vehicles into fleets. The future of Irish roads is electric however it is the early stage and with time we will see more technological advances, better availability, and range. In the meantime, the beauty of this new HVO is that it can be used to fuel any diesel vehicle without having to modify the engines and eliminates unnecessary operational emissions while offering the same distance, range and accessibility as a fossil fuelled vehicle. Working with a likeminded and forward-thinking partner like Lidl Ireland has been key in the successful delivery of this project.” 

The introduction of the new HGVs into the transport fleet is the latest move by the retailer in delivering on its dedicated sustainability commitments as part of its overarching corporate social responsibility framework ‘A Better Tomorrow’. Lidl Ireland currently employs more than 5,000 people across its operations in Ireland, including its network of 174 stores, Dublin Head Office and 3 Regional Distribution Centres.