Loblaw Companies Limited is taking its trucking fleet in a green direction.
In July, the grocer started a pilot project to test a Class 8 truck run by hybrid technology.
The hybrid truck being tested was manufactured by Peterbilt Motor Company. It contains a supplemental parallel hybrid power system, which helps the truck accelerate from a stopped position. When the driver engages the braking system, it creates electricity that is stored in the battery and used to power the truck.
The company is evaluating the vehicle’s fuel efficiency in urban transportation routes in Ontario and measuring the potential benefits that hybrid technology could have to its corporate trucking fleet.
The urban environment is a key testing ground. Many of Loblaw’s banner stores are located in cities, which means drivers must make many stops and starts in traffic.
The pilot will help the company determine how many trucks in its fleet can be replaced with hybrid technology in coming years.
The hybrid truck pilot fits into Loblaw’s commitment to improve fuel efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of its corporate fleet. The company has set a target to improve the fuel efficiency of its fleet by two percent this year compared to 2009 levels.
The pilot is one of several initiatives in the works to accomplish this goal. Loblaw has also launched projects to use biodiesel, reduce truck idle times, install side fairings on trailers and use multi-axle trailers (which allow trucks to pull more weight).
“The hybrid truck pilot is one of the many initiatives undertaken in our supply chain to meet our fuel economy goals for 2010,” said Robert Wiebe, Loblaw’s senior vice-president of supply chain.
“We believe we are on the right track to once again lower fuel consumption and carbon emissions associated with the transportation of goods to our stores.”