The path to electrification is a challenging one for fleets, no matter the sector. But for Food & Beverage (F&B) fleets specifically, powering the additional technology required to transport perishable freight, implementing on-site resiliency, and navigating the web of regulations that target this sector only adds layers of complexity to purchasing decisions, site planning processes, energy procurement, and infrastructure timelines.
Fleet electrification can be daunting but one way to develop an effective F&B fleet electrification strategy is to consider your own fleet’s unique requirements and secure an end-to-end partner that can ensure you are planning for this sector’s more complex and technical considerations right from the start.
Creating an Electrification Plan Unique to Your Operations
A critical first step to ensure a successful journey to electrification is to create a strategic electrification plan that considers your fleet’s sustainability goals, near- and long-term compliance obligations, and the technology requirements and operational profile of your fleet.
Special considerations apply to F&B fleets whose cargo can range from very heavy to very light. Transporting heavy liquid beverages, or canned or frozen foods, for instance, can cause a truck to “weigh out” before it “spaces out.” If a truck is carrying other lightweight goods such as chips, snacks, or lettuce, the truck’s trailer space fills out much quicker than the maximum allowable weight. These technical considerations can easily be overlooked at the early stages of fleet electrification but can have a significant effect on vehicle selection, in-use battery range, charging strategies, and can even impact how a fleet plans and operates their daily routes.
For F&B fleets that transport perishable goods, this strategic planning goes well beyond just the electric truck and the charger. Transport refrigeration units, or TRUs, keep perishable merchandise at the proper temperature before, during, and after the route. Most F&B fleets use refrigeration units powered by a diesel engine which produces even more emissions. However, eTRUs, the zero-emission, electrified version of these units, are increasingly being developed and piloted in partnership with leading F&B fleets and technology manufacturers.,
While these zero-emission refrigeration units promise a substantial emission reduction opportunity for the operators and are critical to meet new emissions regulations, they also require additional site planning, on-site power needs, and infrastructure considerations. Zero-emission eTRUs must have access to continual power to operate and maintain consistent temperatures. This can be provided by the eTRU’s onboard battery or, when refrigerated trucks are being loaded or dwelling in the yard, via on-site shore power. Access to this additional on-site power can impact charger type and location, charging schedules, and even future energy planning for the facility and should be considered from the early planning stages.
Planning for Resiliency from the Start
All fleets need safeguards in place in case of losing power, but for F&B fleets, their perishable freight demands it. To prevent spoilage, fleet operators must have access to consistent and uninterrupted power. Cold storage companies that store and transport frozen goods could quickly damage their freight if the temperature within their trucks even briefly falls below freezing.
Seeking out experienced and proven solution providers with the ability to implement onsite resiliency such as installing battery backups and power generation or designing microgrids is one way to ensure sufficient on-site power is always available.
Considering a Path to Regulatory Compliance
Understanding the complexities of multiple charging profiles and on-site power generation is likely a completely new language for fleet managers. Something fleet managers are more familiar with however, is ensuring their vehicles remain in compliance. For F&B fleets, even this task has added complexities as fleet managers must now navigate a combination of new or developing federal, state, and even local regulations that aim to reduce emissions from both the vehicle and TRUs.
In California, for instance, F&B fleets must create a fleet transition plan that balances the zero-emission requirements of the Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) Rule, the Warehouse Actions and Investments to Reduce Emissions (WAIRE) Program, and the Transport Refrigeration Units (TRU) Regulation. Combined with the upcoming U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s final rule on emissions from heavy-duty diesel engines, fleets have a shortening window to ensure they are compliant with these complex regulations. And with the long lead time required to install EV infrastructure, the window to ensure compliance will soon be closed outright.
F&B Fleets Already Leading the Way
Even with these added complexities to electrification, some F&B fleets are setting ambitious sustainability goals and putting plans in place to meet them. Now, more than ever, F&B fleets need to work with an established electrification partner such as NextEra Mobility who understands these unique challenges, possesses a portfolio of solutions, and has the scale and experience to make their zero-emission transition a success.
NextEra Mobility is already partnering with the nation’s leading F&B fleets to find solutions to their unique electrification challenges and design fleet electrification strategies to help meet their goals.
What is ‘End-to-End’ Electrification Support?
Understanding the F&B sector’s specific needs and requirements is critical to developing a well-rounded approach to fleet electrification. NextEra Mobility offers true end-to-end fleet electrification support to tackle these challenges — from the initial fleet electrification evaluation stage through the ongoing operation and maintenance of the installed charging infrastructure. With the scale, experience, resources, and access to energy services that come along with being one of the country’s largest investors in infrastructure, NextEra can bring complex energy resources to the table to speed up electrification. NextEra has already put its formula to work for more than 150 fleets and customers and over 350,000 vehicles, operating more than 5 million trips and 450 million miles of data.
The NextEra Mobility team can easily customize its portfolio of products and software solutions to suit your needs, at your pace. As a company with unmatched scale, solutions, and decades of experience in the energy sector, NextEra Mobility knows clean energy and understands the implementation challenges, especially those unique to Food & Beverage fleets.
To hear more about NextEra’s Mobility’s end-to-end electrification solutions for fleets, join us on September 28 at 11 am (PT) for a live webinar featuring electrification experts from NextEra Mobility and US Foods’ Senior Manager of Fleet Sustainability, Ken Marko.