Yard Trucks: We’ve been running zero emissions electric yard trucks, similar to Autocar’s all-electric terminal tractor (E-ACTT), in our distribution centers over the last year and have found they provide approximately a 50% emissions reduction compared to diesel trucks, taking into account how the electricity is created and delivered to power these units. Our goal is to continue working to pair these trucks with renewable energy like wind, solar, or hydro powers, so we can achieve a true 100% emission reduction.
Refrigerated Trailers: We also have an opportunity to power our refrigerated trailers with electric energy. As the world’s largest grocer, we use 10,000 of these refrigerated trailers to safely distribute fresh and cold groceries to stores. Today, they rely on diesel fuel to keep them cold, which contributes to our overall CO2 emissions.
To change this, we recently worked with Thermo King to haul Walmart’s first-ever refrigerated trailer operated on battery electricity in the U.S. The trailer is designed to run on 100% electricity until the batteries are fully depleted. If the electricity is depleted mid-haul, the refrigeration unit cuts over to diesel.
During the two-month trial, we ran 18 routes hauling groceries between our distribution center in Shafter, California, and stores in the surrounding areas. We’re pleased to share that throughout the entirety of the pilot, the trailer ran on electricity 83% of the time.
Over-the-Road: Finally, we can’t talk electric without talking over-the-road, specifically our day cabs. Later this summer, we aim to run a battery-electric day cab proof of concept with Freightliner’s eCascadia and Nikola’s Tre BEV out of a distribution center in Fontana, California. These electric day cabs will be picking up loads from suppliers and delivering them to a consolidation center in the area. Short-range deliveries such as these are a great use case for electric trucks, and we’re excited to be among the first to test them in our operations.
Moving the Industry Forward
Becoming a zero emissions company won’t be as simple as adopting electric alternatives. For some vehicle classes, the solution might look like a hydrogen-fueled yard truck moving an electric refrigerated trailer, which eventually gets transported by a natural gas-powered truck. Our hope is that by testing and learning, we can find the right recipe to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create a less impactful transportation fleet, all while still delivering the freshest food and goods to our customers.
And while many of these technologies are still early stage, through industry collaboration, support from policymakers and actively testing alternative fuel-types in our transportation fleet, we hope to make a difference not only for Walmart’s operations but for the industry as a whole. Because we know when we lead, others follow.
As I look to the future, I’m confident that when you see a Walmart truck driving down the highway, you’ll be able to physically see us in action creating a better future for all of us – our children, our grandchildren and our planet.