ORIX recently supported Goodman Fielder to run a three-week electric vehicle (EV) trial in Brisbane as part of the company’s efforts to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040.
Goodman Fielder is continually assessing how it can reduce its environmental impacts and pursue decarbonisation strategies throughout its Australian supply chain. It has already demonstrated it is a clean energy leader, with its operations now powered by 100% renewable electricity, beating its 2025 target to achieve this goal1.
Generating proof points
The trial involved an electric JAC N55 truck supplied by Queensland-based, specialist vehicle importer and distributor BLK Auto. Managing director Jason Pecotic says the trial demonstrates cost-effective and long-term solutions for big businesses to transition to clean energy alternatives for their fleets. “The JAC N55 trucks are just one option for companies to decarbonise fleets and meet zero emission targets today.”
Goodman Fielder’s Supply Chain Manager Matthew Bywaters explains the business will use the data and insights from the trial to inform its future fleet strategy. “At the moment, we are evaluating the alternate technology pathways to our zero emission ambition”. The outcomes of the trial will provide greater insight into the potential applications of EV across Goodman Fielder.
An Australia-wide opportunity
Goodman Fielder operates an extensive national food distribution business, delivering bread and other bakery and grocery brands to 7,500 stores around the country daily. Utilisation of electric vehicles as part of its fleet strategy could have material positive environmental benefits.
Currently, the distribution network largely comprises diesel vehicles travelling a combined distance of over 40,000km each day. Modelling of the potential emissions reduction from the implementation of EV across the GF fleet will be developed as part of the post-trial analysis.
“It’s a big decision to switch a fleet to renewable energy. Investing in EVs and the required infrastructure to run these vehicles can be expensive, not to mention daunting,” says Harrison.
“Trialling a rental EV model is a way for fleet managers to assess whether these vehicles are suitable for the business’s requirements, before making any significant commitments,” he adds.
It’s an opportunity to explore how much downtime EVs will need to recharge and how far they can travel before they need to be plugged in. At this stage, businesses also typically plot charging stations along delivery routes and look into the charging infrastructure that needs to be installed across the business to support EVs.
Harrison explains there’s no one-size-fits-all model for deploying EVs. “It’s important to find out what works best for your business, depending on your specific requirements. Renting EVs allows fleet managers to test vehicles so they can be confidently incorporated into a permanent fleet.
Fleet managers need to consider the vehicle’s whole-of-life-costs when developing their electric fleet strategy. Powering EVs costs around a quarter of the cost to run vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. The cost of preventative maintenance is also generally much lower for an EV2.
Says Harrison: “Our role is to help transport operators and fleet managers to look at the potential to add or completely replace their fleet with more environmentally-friendly options, taking all variables into account.”
Goodman Fielder is just one of a growing cohort of Australian businesses looking at potential transition towards EVs. More than 60 per cent of corporates say they want to transition a large proportion of their fleets to EVs between now and 20263.
There’s already an extensive range of passenger, bus and truck EVs that could be incorporated into fleets operating across metropolitan areas. Additionally, EV battery technology is always improving and EV range will only increase over time.
It’s anticipated EVs will become a standard part of most businesses’ fleets over time.