Well, it’s finally actually happening. The UK’s truck operators are starting to place orders for electric trucks. These new Volvo FE Electric tippers do not appear to be a token amongst a fleet of thousands of trucks or a council with money to spend. It seems to be a normal truck operator buying a truck in the usual way – it just so happens to be an electric 27-tonner.
First Electric Tipper in the UK
The order comes from Blackpool-based Fox Group, which is expected to see it become the first tipper operator in the UK to begin the transition from diesel to electric vehicles, following an order placed with Thomas Hardie Commercials for two Volvo FE Electric 6×2 tippers.
Expected to enter service in March 2022, the two zero tailpipe emission FE Electrics will be mounted with Thompsons tipper bodywork and used for local operations in predominantly urban areas – taking maximum advantage of their ability to operate both quietly and cleanly.
Just the Start of Electrification
Paul Fox, Managing Director of family-run Fox Group, says: “Placing this order marks the start of the electrification of our fleet. We understand we are the first company in the UK to invest in electric tippers – and one of the first in Europe.
“We are strongly committed to playing our part in the UK’s push to reach net zero and we will be making more of our fleet electric in the future. This milestone is just the beginning of the journey, and we believe if the country is serious about substantially reducing carbon emissions, the construction sector needs to join the party – and we are proud to be playing our part and leading from the front.”
The Volvo FE Electric Specification
Both trucks will be built with a day cab, hydraulically-steered rear axle and plated at 27-tonnes; with the additional one-tonne allowance helping to compensate for the additional weight of the vehicle’s batteries. Charging will be carried out on-site overnight, with each full charge offering a projected range of around 150km – perfect for local urban work.
The FE Electric powertrain consists of two electric motors and a two-speed gearbox, with power being generated by an electric motor with an output of 400 kW and 850 Nm of torque. It’s a solution based on the same technology already deployed by Volvo Group in thousands of electrified buses used worldwide.
Neil Crook, Customer Solutions Manager at Thomas Hardie Commercials, says: “Without doubt this is one of the most exciting new truck orders I’ve ever taken! Paul and the team at Fox Group recognise that the future is electric, and we can help them to start making that a reality for their business right now.
“Placing the order drives home the message that series production electric trucks are available today to help the UK meet its net zero targets. I can’t wait to deliver them in!”
Thomas Hardie Commercials is supplying the trucks backed by a comprehensive Volvo Gold Contract. All scheduled maintenance will take place at the firm’s Preston dealership, where it is investing in the equipment necessary to maintain the new vehicles on a six-weekly maintenance schedule.
Fox adds: “We recognise the changes we need to make as a business won’t happen overnight but, along with introducing two electric trucks in the fleet, we are actively looking at other aspects of the business where we can reduce our carbon footprint even further.”
Based in Blackpool and operating from eight locations, Fox specialises in the supply and haulage of aggregates, recycled materials, muck-shift, earthworks and civil engineering projects. Fox has a fleet of more than 90 vehicles, consisting of eight-wheel tippers, artics, low loaders, road sweepers and the new addition of Walking Floor trailers.
In 2020, Fox acquired Clive Hurt (Plant Hire) and this year JJ O’Grady, to create the largest provider of haulage and plant hire services in Lancashire, the Fox Group – which now has a combined 205-strong fleet of trucks and more than 400 items of plant and machinery.