Openfield launches electric trial for its transport operations

Openfield Group, the British farmer-owned co-operative, has teamed up with Voltloader to trial fully electric trucks with the aim of reducing carbon emissions. 

This innovative partnership will see grain loads moved from Openfield member farm gates to their consumer customers using Voltloader’s all-electric fleet – which is currently focused on the bulk haulage industry. 

The Openfield leaders said that teaming up with Voltloader helps them begin their ambitious plan to explore opportunities for alternative fuels in the company’s transport operations.  

As Openfield uses Voltloader for local deliveries, the company will gain useful insights into what it will need to do to meet its overall net-zero commitment while at the same time reducing its haulage carbon footprint.

Aim to become net-zero by 2040 

Openfield recently launched a new environmental, social, and governance plan, which includes a commitment to become net-zero by 2040 and becoming the leading partner in net zero solutions for seed, fertiliser, grain and storage.  

The company’s recent fleet expansion means that, in addition to its increased service offer by moving over half of its own grain, Openfield now has a direct influence over its road haulage environment impact. 

Richard Jenner, member service director, said: “Greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation of grain and oilseeds are the single largest contributor to Openfield’s tonnes of CO2 equivalent footprint.  

“Whilst we seek to become net-zero by 2040, we are also committed to supporting all our consumer customers and farmer members on their own journey to net zero. Using vehicles powered by diesel alternative fuel options, such as electric, HVO and biomethane, will reduce our transport emissions by 70% to 85%”. 

Ongoing trial 

Recent loads have included deliveries to consumers at Bawsey, Long Buckby and Stoke Ferry from farms in the region of Voltloader’s base in Whittlesey.  

Currently, the payloads are in excess of 24 tonnes (up to 29 tonnes for diesel HGVs) and the range for trucks on one charge is around 150 miles. 

However, Voltloader’s ultra-rapid 200 kW charging capability at its Whittlesey site allows the trucks to be topped up in only 90 minutes, allowing a greater daily range for vehicles.  

This will further grow with their vision to expand along the A1 in Lincolnshire and Cambridge and into East Anglia. 

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