The Heppner Group, creator of transport and logistics solutions, is upgrading its urban distribution offer with plans to integrate 16 and 18 tonne electric trucks into its fleet, in partnership with Volta Trucks. The project is part of a strategic decarbonisation plan, adding electric power to its energy mix, alongside CNG/bio-CNG, biofuel and three-wheelers. A first test drive of an unladen Volta Zero on 30 November 2022 allowed Heppner employees to get to know the vehicle.
Heppner, a player committed to the energy transition
In line with its CSR and energy transition strategic plan, Heppner is providing its drivers and customers with a new range of vehicles for last-mile delivery. Committed to reducing its carbon footprint, Heppner is invested in the continuous improvement of its service offering and acts face of changing regulatory standards concerning low emission zones.
In anticipation of this, Heppner began a first transformation of its fleet of vehicles in 2021, initially towards CNG/bio-CNG by setting up a first semi-private CNG station in Le Mans. After a target of 150 CNG trucks by 2025 out of its 300 vehicles operated by the company, and the introduction of the XTL biofuel in 2022, as well as delivery in three-wheelers in some fifteen cities in France. Heppner has completed its energy mix by entering a partnership with Volta Trucks, enabling it to offer its drivers a 16-ton or 18-ton electric vehicle suitable for last-mile delivery.
A new electric vehicle with high performance and safety
The “Volta Zero”, created specifically for urban distribution, is a range of electric vehicles with a 150-225 kWh battery. Its range of 150-200 km, which is more than sufficient for city centre distribution, is complemented by a large transport capacity which allows the number of vehicles in city centres to be optimised. A real technological tool, the Volta Zero can carry goods at room temperature and has an energy density unequalled in the industry for enhanced safety. The battery is located between the rails of the chassis, the safest possible location for electric vehicles. The vehicle has zero tailpipe CO2 emissions and and is integrated into the carbon trajectory targeted by Heppner.
The driving experience is also enhanced as the interior is designed in a highly functional, driver-centric manner with 3 combined touch screens and a human-machine interface (HMI) integrated into the steering wheel. With a lowered central driving position offering 220° visibility, blind spots are limited. Everything has been designed to enhance the safety of the driver, pedestrians, and cyclists. The general layout of the cab is designed to ensure ergonomic access to all controls, and the information displayed on the screens is limited to what is necessary to reduce the driver’s cognitive overload. The accessibility of this new vehicle also makes it perfectly suited to urban delivery in confined spaces.
An initial test phase and deployment at three sites
Heppner carried out a first conclusive empty driving test on 30 November 2022 at the La Courneuve (Paris region) site. With an investment of one million euros to upgrade its infrastructure, the group will deploy a total of 16 vehicles at three sites by mid-2023:
- Rungis (6 vehicles associated with 6 on-site 22 kW chargers);
- La Courneuve (3 vehicles associated with 4 on-site chargers of 22 kW and 150 kW);
- Lyon (7 vehicles associated with 8 on-site chargers of 22 kW and 150 kW).
The charging stations installed at Heppner sites will also be made available to subcontractors, which the Group is involving in its energy transition path.
The deployment of this new service offer is ensured by a follow-up included in the “Truck as a Service” (TaaS) service offered by Volta Trucks, which guarantees a smooth migration to electric vehicles while optimising their availability and operational efficiency. Heppner is the first customer to order this global offer. Heppner is the first customer to order this comprehensive package and will have access to all service, maintenance, insurance, and training services, and can rely on the expertise of its partner Volta Trucks to develop and maintain this new offer.
“At Heppner, our approach to reducing our carbon footprint is global and we act wherever possible. I am proud to be able to lay a new brick in our energy transition with Volta Trucks, which is a key pillar of our strategy. This first successful trial is the start of a great collaboration in which innovation and agility have their place”, says Jean-Thomas Schmitt, CEO of the Heppner Group.
Essa Al-Saleh, Chief Executive Officer of Volta Trucks, added; “I’m delighted to welcome Heppner to Volta Trucks. Both teams have worked towards a shared vision – to implement the full-electric Volta Zero onto Heppner’s fleet but also recognising that the migration to zero tailpipe emissions needs more than a truck, it needs the complete electrification ecosystem around the truck, to be successful. Our unique Truck as a Service proposition supports customers like Heppner operate an efficient and cost-effective full-electric fleet of trucks from day one. I’m sure this will provide a template and case study that others will follow.”
Heppner is a specialist creator of transport and logistics solutions and an independent leader in international transport from and to France. Our robust, powerful overland transport networks connect more than 40 European countries, with deliveries in 24–72h to the main European cities. With strong international business connections, our exclusive partnership agreements also enable us to handle ocean and air transport to and from 157 countries around the world. With a turnover of €950 expected in 2022 and almost a century of accumulated business experience, we currently employ more than 3,570 people, 111 of them enrolled on work-study programmes, in close to 80 locations in France and 14 in Germany, with a direct presence in the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Hungary, United Kingdom and Senegal, and more than 10,000 customers. Every day, Heppner works to Foster the Enterprising Spirit of its employees, partners, customers, and suppliers in all its areas of business. www.heppner-group.com
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