For most print companies keen to improve their environmental impact, ideas start with the premises and kit. But we should all be thinking more about transportation’s impact, especially if the delivery fleet is large.
Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly common and the number of manufacturers is growing. A recent addition to the clan is Volta Trucks a Swedish start up that has developed the world’s first electric 16 tonne delivery truck. The Volte Zero is specifically designed for freight distribution in cities. Even its body is sustainable being made of a combination of flax fibres and a biodegradable resin. Volte claim that this cuts the body’s carbon footprint by 75% compared to conventional shell designs.
This is certainly one to watch for printing companies interested to improve their transportation footprint. The vehicle has an electric drivetrain (the bit that links the gearbox to the drive axels) which the company claims is “optimised for safety”. The Zero has a range of up to 200 km and a top speed of 90 kilometers per hour. It can carry up to 8.6 tonnes and has a capacity of up to 16 EUR pallets. The use of an electric drivetrain allows for a complete redesign of the driver’s space which the developers claim improves visibility and safety.
But what makes this vehicle and the company behind it especially interesting is the business model. Volta Trucks offers “Truck as a Service” (TaaS) in order to make it easier for companies to gradually switch their fleets to electric. It’s basically leasing except that TaaS includes service, maintenance, insurance and training with a commitment to provide replacement vehicles when needed. This should reassure businesses anxious about the range of electric vehicles.
Volta Trucks has specifically designed its technology for cities, to make the last few links in the logistics chain. The Zero is to be trailed next year in London’s ultralow emissions zone by DPD, an international parcel delivery firm. DPD already has an all-electric parcel depot in Westminster and the objective is to see how well the Zero compares to other electic vans.
The graphics industry has plenty of technologies to help cut emissions, from ink management software through to press control systems. Digital printing presses for instance allow printing companies to produce print media close to its point of use and this can cut the emissions associated with transportation. Adding an electric delivery truck such as the Volta Zero could bring emissions associated with delivery, down even further all the way to nil.
– Laurel Brunner
This article was produced by the Verdigris Project, an industry initiative intended to raise awareness of print’s positive environmental impact. This weekly commentary helps printing companies keep up to date with environmental standards, and how environmentally friendly business management can help improve their bottom lines. Verdigris is supported by the following companies: Agfa Graphics, EFI, Fespa, Fujifilm, HP, Kodak, Miraclon, Ricoh, Spindrift, Splash PR, Unity Publishing and Xeikon.