Dutch beer giant Heineken has engaged Swedish Einride, a specialized transport company in electric and remote-controlled trucks, to start delivering daily to its German distribution center in Duisburg from its brewery in Den Bosch, the Netherlands, by electric Mercedes eActros 300 trucks.
These trucks will cover some 540 km each daily, driven by a human driver and not remotely controlled. Still, Einride will fully deploy its integrated system with electric trucks fuelled by renewable energy, establishing charging infrastructure and integrating the AI-driven operating and monitoring system, Einride Saga.
Saving 930 tons of CO2
The companies say Saga will optimize routes, minimize energy consumption, and precisely monitor emissions reductions. This way, Heineken wants to cut CO² emissions by approximately 930 tons per year, a first step toward the goal of net-zero carbon emissions in the value chain by 2040. Transport represents, in this case, 12% of emissions.
Einride works with external suppliers like Daimler Truck, Volvo, or Scania for ‘regular’ human-driven electric trucks. One of the developments of the Swedish tech company includes the Einride Stations, where a fleet of electric trucks (autonomous or not) can be charged simultaneously. Einride is not a developer but likes to advertise itself as a transport service company providing a complete transport or logistics system.
eActros 300 with a 300 km range
Heineken will use Mercedes eActros 300 trucks for this transport, as the distance from Den Bosh to Duisburg just over the German border is only about 125 km. The eActros 300 has three battery packs, each offering an installed capacity of 112 kWh and a usable capacity of around 97 kWh. That should be sufficient for a 300 km range.
The eActros 300 features liquid-cooled motors that generate a continuous output of 330 kW, a top performance of 400 kW, and a two-speed transmission. The electric truck can be charged with up to 160 kW DC power, requiring just over an hour to charge from 20 to 80 percent at a standard DC fast charging station of 400 A.
The 400 series has the same dual motors and four battery packs for up to 400 km range. The eActros 600, which will enter production this year, will still be powered by three battery packs with a total capacity of 600 kWh. That should give the truck a range of 500 km, while megawatt (1,000 kW) fast-charging allows the batteries to recover from 20 to 80 percent in under 30 minutes.
AB InBev and Mars
Heineken is not the first to embark with Einride to electrify its transport chain. Its Belgian competitor – even more significant in size – AB InBev ordered at the end of 2022 six fully electric trucks with Einride, as it pledges to replace all its diesel trucks with electric ones.
In January 2024, news broke that Candy and pet care giant Mars has partnered up with Einride to electrify its European transport fleet. The first two eActros 300 trucks have already been delivered, with 298 more coming by 2030. Einride wants to make these trucks autonomous, starting with a pilot project in 2025.
All of these are human-driven trucks, but the Swedes also developed a highly autonomous electric truck of their own, called ‘pods’ with the looks of a Star Wars Storm Trooper. After setting up pilots with autonomous pods in its homeland, Sweden and Germany, it was the first SAE Level 4 autonomous truck allowed on US roads in Los Angeles.
After that, it set a new milestone by being the first driverless truck to go cross-border between Sweden and Norway in the so-called MODI project, co-funded by the EU. MODI is a European-funded four-year program, starting in November 2022, to connect the harbors of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Hamburg in Germany, Göteborg in Sweden, and Moss in Norway with Level 4 autonomous driving trucks.
Einride’s first T-Pod, launched in 2019, was a seven by 2,5 m measuring electric truck capable of loading 15 euro pallets and weighing 26 tons. It has a top speed of 85 km/hour. Its 200 kWh battery gives it a range of 200 km.
Remotely controlling a whole fleet
The Gen 2, announced in November 2022, is a bigger variant, capable of moving more weight and building further on the technology used in the T-Pod. It also has an array of radars, lidars, and cameras for a 360-degree view of its environment. Ericsson delivers the 5G connections to the vehicle.
It can also be controlled remotely by a human driver when the autonomous truck feels it needs ‘advice’ to handle certain situations it encounters on the road. Einride developed a new remote driver’s control post with multiple screens where the future trucker can monitor several trucks simultaneously. This is the third generation.