The Shoprite Group is the first South African retailer to pilot a heavy-duty electric truck as part of its fleet, and 28-year-old Robin Jooste from Colorado Park, Mitchells Plain, has been selected to drive it. 

The vehicle, a Scania battery electric vehicle, is 100% electric and therefore has no reliance on fossil fuels and emits no carbon dioxide. The refrigerated truck can hold approximately 16 pallets, has nine batteries, solar panels fitted to its roof, and a fully electric cooling system which is also powered by the vehicle’s battery packs.

With a range in the region of 350 km, the vehicle will be used for local deliveries and will be recharged using renewable energy generated by Shoprite’s existing solar installations. 

Above: Shoprite CEO Pieter Engelbrecht with Erik Bergvall MD of Scania Southern Africa.

In another first, the truck’s special “glow in the dark” signage will make it more visible when travelling at night. When exposed to bright sunlight, the signage can absorb and store particles. This stored energy is emitted when it’s dark, resulting in the glow. 

“As Africa’s largest grocery retailer, the Shoprite Group places significant focus on reducing its environmental impact across its operations,” says Andrew Havinga, chief supply chain officer for the Shoprite Group. 

“One of the ways we’re doing this is by increasing the energy efficiency of our truck fleet. The acquisition of this, one of the world’s most advanced electric trucks, which we will charge using our existing renewable energy infrastructure, is another major move in this direction.”

The addition of the new Scania electric truck forms part of Shoprite’s ongoing efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its supply chain. It recently acquired over 100 fuel-efficient Euro 5 Scanias and more than 900 of its trailers are fitted with solar panels, which enable the refrigeration and tailgate lift to continue to run on solar power even when the truck is switched off. 

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