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VOLVO Truck’s electric delivery truck, the brand’s first EV to arrive in Australia, has started its trials among the Linfox logistics fleet with its duties to quietly move beer around Melbourne.

The Volvo FL, also the first all-electric truck in the Linfox fleet, is delivering Victoria Bitter beer at the rate of more than 100,000 cans and stubbies a week to Melbourne bottle shops and packages outlets.

Volvo’s FL and FE electric trucks were first unveiled in early 2019 and sent to selected European markets later that year.

The truck-maker expanded the range for European operators early this year as part of its goal to sell only fossil-fuel-free trucks by 2040.

The FL and FE were designed for distribution, refuse handling and other urban applications. The FL has a GVM of 16-tonnes and a motor rated at 200kW/425Nm.

Volvo will start production of a full range of electric trucks in Sweden next year.

Linfox said the FL would be “the first of many” electric trucks in its fleet as global manufacturers increase EV production.

Volvo’s FL is the first mass-produced electric truck of its size in Australia. It is powered entirely by 100 per cent offset solar power from VB parent Asahi Beverages’ solar farm near Mildura in northern Victoria. Asahi bought Carlton & United Breweries, which owned brands including VB, last year.

It is the latest sustainability initiative from VB, which has been brewed with 100 per cent offset solar electricity since last year.

Asahi Beverages Group CEO Robert Iervasi said Linfox had delivered VB for more than 50 years.

“It’s fitting these two Victorian icons are taking this major step towards a sustainable future together,” he said.

“This truck will deliver VB and our other beers in a sustainable, safe and efficient way, which makes sound commercial sense.

“It is the first of many electric trucks that will deliver our beer. Transitioning our deliveries to EV will help us achieve our ambitious sustainability goals of reducing our net carbon emissions across our entire supply chain by 30 per cent by 2030 and to zero by 2050.”

The VB truck, distinguished by its VB green livery, can travel up to 250km before recharging.

Linfox delivers hundreds of millions of litres of beer annually for Asahi Beverages.

The company’s domestic freight business has doubled in the past decade, said Linfox executive chairman Peter Fox, “and will continue to grow”.

“To meet this demand, Australia’s road fleet will also grow and it is essential the fleet does this safely, efficiently and with reduced environmental impact,” he said in a statement.

“We are proud to introduce Volvo’s first electric vehicle in Australia to the Linfox fleet. The majority of Linfox’s carbon emissions come from transportation tasks.

“As we continue our journey to act sustainably and achieve zero net emissions by 2030, the way we operate will change in response, with more electric vehicles planned for our fleet and increased use of rail transport where viable.”

Volvo Group Australia president and CEO Martin Merrick said the transport industry was transforming at a rapid rate.

“Electromobility is rapidly gaining traction as a transport solution and we are proud to partner with Linfox and Asahi Beverages on this exciting new journey,” he said.

“Environmental care is a core value shared not only by Linfox and Volvo Trucks, but also by Asahi Beverages and we are proud of those shared values.

“We are committed to ensuring our vehicles will play their part in making our cities cleaner and more liveable. This new truck represents the first step on that journey.”

By Neil Dowling