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Walmart makes an electrifying change to its trucking fleet: 'This is surely just the start'

"[It] is an important milestone."

"[It] is an important milestone."

Photo Credit: iStock

Walmart Canada's plans to decarbonize its delivery fleet have accelerated with the deployment of its first electric semitrucks

Three Freightliner eCascadia semitrucks will hit the road in Surrey, British Columbia, where the company's grocery distribution center has been earmarked as a hub for its electric vehicles, the company announced in December. 

The Freightliner eCascadia is a fully electric vehicle that can travel 400 kilometers (nearly 250 miles) on just one charge. It is expected that each EV in Walmart's stable will travel 110,000 kilometers (around 68,000 miles) annually. 

Three may be a modest number, but as CleanTechnica noted, "This is surely just the start." These vehicles alone will save more than 26,000 gallons of fuel a year, per the company.

This follows Walmart Canada's announcement in 2020 that it had reserved 130 Tesla Semi trucks — one of the largest reservations of its kind in the country — as part of its drive to power its fleet solely by alternative power by 2028. 

Walmart's United States branch, meanwhile, ordered 4,500 electric vehicles from Canoo in 2022 to decarbonize the delivery of online orders. The global company hopes to reach zero emissions by 2040. 

Electrifying delivery vehicles could be an essential step in reducing planet-warming pollution worldwide, and other big companies such as PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Frito-Lay are making similar moves.

In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency has reported that nearly a quarter of transport-related air pollution can be attributed to medium- and heavy-duty trucks, which in 2021 produced the equivalent of about 460 million tons of carbon dioxide — up by around 78% from 1990 levels. 

The continued increase of planet-warming pollutants from freight vehicles can be explained in part by the rise of online shopping, which emphasizes speedy delivery and convenience. 

If left unchecked, the carbon pollution from online deliveries is expected to grow by 30% by 2030 in 100 cities globally, per the World Economic Forum.

"While there has been an uptake in electric cars for personal use, industry has been lagging in making the shift to electric vehicles," Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke said in a statement. "I commend Walmart Canada in taking the lead to transition their vehicles to clean electric power."

"Putting our first electric semi-trucks on the road in British Columbia is an important milestone in our regenerative efforts," added Aaron Ritter, Director of Transportation at Walmart Canada. "The introduction of three electric semi-trucks at our Surrey distribution centre is just the first step towards our ambition of a 100% alternatively powered fleet."

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