Creating what it calls “positive societal change” by promoting the benefits of its plant-based vegan foods is a major driver for Oatly but now the company is making another move to try to improve the planet by changing the way it delivers its products.
Oatly and tech company Einride, both based in Sweden, announced Thursday they’ve stuck a deal where Oatly will transition transportation of its oat drinks and other foods to an all-electric fleet produced by Einride.
Scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of this year, the transition will start with four electric trucks operated by a team of three drivers to optimize charging, loading, and driving schedules, and managed with Einride’s Freight Mobility Platform.
“Sustainability is at the core of everything we do and we are committed to driving change across the food industry through embracing new sustainable solutions in every area of our business,” said Simon Broadbent, Supply Chain Director at Oatly, in a statement. “Electrical transportation is a key part of our supply chain strategy globally and on these routes, we will be reducing our carbon footprint by 87%.”
Replying to emailed questions, Einride’s CEO and Founder, Robert Falck blamed the overland freight industry for fouling the air calling it “both a massive contributor to global emissions – nearly 7% of all CO2 emitted worldwide – and has long been slow or resistant to change. We believe that electrification is not only the most cost-effective but the most sustainable way forward for this industry. In the case of Oatly alone, just four electric trucks will save over 2,100 tons of CO2 emitted per year compared to their diesel counterparts.”
But Falck admits while electric vehicles are a zero emissions option, they lack the driving range and convenience of being able to pull into a filling station to quickly refuel. The electric trucks Einride will provide to Oatly will run daily routes of about 200 km, or about 124 miles, close to their maximum range.
“What our solution provides is a way to bridge the gap to fully-electrified (and eventually, automated) transport networks,” said Falck. “Electric trucks alone are not enough to make the transition feasible – they must be optimized to account for charging times, efficiency, range, battery health, and more. The Freight Mobility Platform takes all of this into account in real time, making the switch to electric easier and smarter.”
After the initial rollout with Oatly in Sweden, Falck said Einride hopes to offer its electric truck “more broadly” in Europe and the U.S. within the year, although those plans may be thwarted by the global coronavirus pandemic, he said.
The partnership with Oatly is just the latest move by Einride to make inroads in the freight and commercial trucking industry.
Last month it unveiled a line of autonomous electric transport vehicles it calls Pods which can be monitored and controlled from a remote location. Initially one operator can oversee two Pods, with the goal of increasing that to 10. The idea is to reduce costs and the number of miles a trucker has to sit behind the wheel.
Einride will also provide several electric delivery trucks to German grocery store chain Lidl later this year as part of that company’s plan to transition to a fully zero-emission transport network.
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