Delivery firm opts for electric lorries

Express delivery company TNT says it is rolling out the world's largest fleet of zero emission vehicles. The £7m 'green fleet' of 100 battery-powered 7.5-tonne delivery trucks will replace diesel equivalents over the next 18 months.

The Newton models, manufactured by Smith Electric Vehicles in Tyne & Wear, are claimed to be the first pure electric vehicles in their class that can compete in performance terms with diesel equivalents and, at the same time, deliver a 100 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions and exhaust air pollutants at the point of use.

The first tranche of 50 trucks will initially operate from TNT locations around Great Britain. The company is also piloting Smith Electric battery-powered vans and trucks in the Netherlands, with a view to introducing them across its wider European operations.

The partnership with Smith - the world's largest manufacturer of road-going commercial electric vehicles - is a key strand in TNT's environmental strategy and follows months of trials in London.

Costing just 7p per mile in electricity to run, the Newton will also deliver a significant saving in fuel costs. It has a top speed of 50mph and a 70-mile range from one single battery charge. It is designed to replace diesel trucks that operate exclusively in urban areas, thereby helping improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Powered by four large sodium nickel chloride 278V batteries located underneath the vehicle, each truck can be fully charged from flat in approximately eight hours, using a standard three-phase industrial electricity supply.

The Newton also provides additional environmental features such as fully recyclable, ultra light body panels manufactured by Omnia. This reduces the body weight and increases the payload capacity to 2,000kg for the TNT vehicles.

The latest order for 100 Smith vehicles is in addition to 50 that TNT ordered last year. The company has 45,000 vehicles across Europe, of which 3,500 are in the UK fleet.

Image: TNT Newton truck

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