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Ecotopia: Oatly shifts to electric trucks for oat milk delivery

Oatly, the Swedish premier oat-based food producer, announced today that it will become one of the world’s first companies to electrify its fleet of heavy trucks. Its first electric trucks will roll out in October, covering about 125 zero-emission miles per day. Plans are under way for those deliveries to use remote-operated, self-driving EVs such as the Einride Pod.

Oatly is partnering with Einride, a Swedish transport logistics company specializing in electric and autonomous vehicles. Oatly’s electric trucks will become the first in Europe to be employed for heavy transport, busting the myth that electric trucks are not capable of heavy loads.

Einride’s Freight Mobility Platform software will optimize the efficiency of routes while providing sufficient time for electric trucks to charge. Jonas Hernlund, operations chief at Einride, explains:

By planning transport more accurately, we can drive 24 tonnes of goods an average of 120 kilometers without charging. It is about software optimizing and coordinating drivers, vehicles, routes, charging, etc.

For example, in each Oatly shift, we drive with three drivers in a total of four different trucks, a new way of thinking in the transport world. This is meant to always have a truck on charge, which places less strain on the batteries and is, therefore, more durable and economical.

Einride Pod

Einride Pod

Oatly’s electric shipping plans will start with human-driven electric trucks, like Einride’s E-Truck, to deliver Oatly’s goods from production sites in southern Sweden. The company also plans to implement electric routes in the US.

Oat milk is a global sensation. Oatly’s global distribution network includes 1,300 Starbucks locations in the midwestern US and thousands in China. The Swedish company runs a processing plant in Millville, NJ, which produces about 750,000 gallons of oat base per month.

By using EVs, Oatly will reduce its climate footprint on the affected routes by 87%. That will mean an average reduction of 430 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year compared to using diesel trucks.

Today oat milk deliveries, tomorrow the world

Simon Broadbent, supply chain director at Oatly, said:

Switching to electric trucks has a decisive effect on our environmental impact. We are planning for and want to act as a model for the larger global conversion to electric transport.

Electric transport is a key part of our global strategy for sustainable logistics. Implementing electric trucks in our supply chain will come at an extra cost in the first few years, but it is an investment to significantly reduce emissions and increase efficiency in the long run.

Robert Falck, chief executive of Einride, understands that the transition to worldwide electric transport will take time. Einride is taking an incremental approach to Oatly’s logistics.

Starting October, 9 out of 10 transport runs to Oatly’s warehouse in Helsingborg will be powered by electricity. The few remaining diesel trucks will also be coordinated with the Einride Freight Mobility Platform to minimize their use while improving both time and fuel efficiency.

Falck said:

The shift to electrical operation takes place in stages, where we coordinate old manual and new digital technology through both technology platforms and software. It affects production, inventory, and the entire business. Therefore, it is natural that the first electric truck fleet is born in close cooperation between a forward-thinking consumer company and a cutting-edge tech company.

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Avatar for Bradley Berman Bradley Berman

Bradley writes about electric cars, autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and other tech that’s transforming society. He contributes to The New York Times, SAE International, Via magazine, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and others.