This week, Train Trailer has finalized a deal regarding the first fully electric shunt truck in Canada with Loblaw, the largest grocery company in Canada. They have ordered a unit from Terberg, a Dutch special vehicle manufacturing company, which will be delivered and put into service in the coming weeks.
"Train Trailer is very excited to bring an electric vehicle to North America," said James Currier, national sales manager for Train Trailer. "We've been pushing Terberg to allow us access to one, not an easy task given the demand from their European customers. Everything looks good to go for end of July."
Shunt truck applications are seen as ideal for electrification, because they usually don’t travel far from home base, where charging stations are located. Their frequent starts and stops provide regenerative braking opportunities and they can usually be charged between work shifts.
Train Trailer chose to work with Loblaw, as it has several distribution centers across Canada where the unit can be tested. The Canadian climate is sometimes unforgiving. Given this is a new product to the Canadian market, they want to be able to test it in several different environments, so partnering with a company like Loblaw allows Train Trailer to find the resources and dedicate the time necessary in order to test all sorts of different attributes and functionalities. When the shunt truck is deployed, Train Trailer will work closely with Loblaw to monitor its performance. "It's very much a hand-in-hand partnership," Currier noted. "We want to be able to start putting electric vehicles out to a large portion of shunt truck users within Canada, and ideally eventually all of North America, but in order to do that somebody has to go first."
A second generation Terberg electric yard tractor is currently in development, and once it’s released, Train Trailer plans to bring them over in larger quantities. James: "We see the interest in the technology is steadily increasing and the demand for electric vehicles is rising."