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Fonterra adopts first electric milk tanker

25 July 2022

A battery swap system is being installed on site

New Zealand’s first electric milk tanker, Milk-E, has been officially launched by the minister for energy and resources Megan Woods in Morrinsville, Fonterra said in a press release.

Local government, Iwi, Industry and Fonterra employees were also present to recognise the significant milestone in the decarbonisation of New Zealand’s heavy transport, while also recognising the team behind the build.

Named by Fonterra farmer Stephen Todd from Murchison, Milk-E is part of Fonterra’s fleet decarbonisation work, which is one of a number of programmes that’s helping the Co-op towards becoming a leader in sustainability.

“Right across the Co-op our teams are constantly looking at how we can decrease our emissions – from on farm, to at our sites and throughout our transport network,” said chief operating officer Fraser Whineray.

“The team here at our Morrinsville Workshop have done a fantastic job of pulling this tanker together. Being a New Zealand first, there’s been a lot of creative thinking and Kiwi ingenuity to bring Milk-E to life," he added.

Changes to the battery configuration have given the team an opportunity to trial other additions to improve milk collection efficiencies, reduce safety concerns, and reduce the amount of work required to customise a Fonterra tanker. A battery swap system is being installed at the Waitoa site where Milk-E will be based to trial how this could work within a fleet to minimise downtime from battery charging.

“It’s been great to see the team turn challenges into opportunities so in addition to trialling Milk-E’s on-road ability, we’re also trialling a new electric pump, hose configuration and cabinetry,” said Whineray.

Fonterra received co-funding from the Government’s Low Emissions Transport Fund (LEFT), which is administered by EECA (the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority).

“We’re pleased to see this project come to life. New Zealand has ambitious targets to rapidly reduce carbon emissions, and transport is key, but heavy freight has proven hard to decarbonise," said EECA group manager investment and engagement Nicki Sutherland. "If successful, this project could be replicated across a number of New Zealand businesses.”

The electric milk tanker will operate out of Fonterra’s Waitoa site, which Whineray said is very fitting given it was the site of New Zealand’s largest fleet of electric milk trucks 100 years ago.



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