US retail giant Walmart announced last week that it is testing three types of renewable energy to power its fleet, aiming to save energy and lower emissions.
Walmart operates the largest private trucking fleet in the US with over 10,000 tractors and 80,000 trailers driven by 12,000 drivers. Fernando Cortez, Walmart’s senior vice president of transportation, stated that the corporation is in the early stage of converting its fleet to 100% renewable energy by 2040.
As remarked by Cortez, Walmart’ Class 8 transportation fleet accounts for 24% of the company’s total carbon emissions. The collaborations announced last week thus include long-haul and other Class 8 deliveries using electric, hydrogen, and natural gas instead of diesel.
“We know transforming our transportation fleet is not as simple as flipping a switch, but that doesn’t mean we’re sitting idle,” said Cortez. “Today I’m excited to share more about our zero-emissions transportation strategy and announce a series of collaborations and pilots.”
“Many of these initiatives are first-of-their kind for Walmart and will be pivotal in moving us towards a zero emissions future, while being instructive to the entire transportation industry,” he added.
By this fall, Walmart will test a first-generation hydrogen fuel cell yard truck produced in Longview, Texas, said Cortez. Yard trucks used in distribution center yards can run for 10 hours on a single charge with little to no emissions. Cortez stated that the promise of a new hydrogen fuel cell yard truck provides hope that the fuel may eventually be employed for long-distance deliveries.
Walmart has also experimented with electric vehicles to explore where they might fit into the company’s fleet. According to Cortez, the weight and range characteristics of electric-battery trucks make them an appealing alternative for yard operations, lesser weight hauls, and day deliveries of up to 200 miles.
The retailer has been running zero emissions electric yard trucks in its distribution centers for the last year and has found that they provide approximately a 50% emissions reduction compared to diesel trucks. Walmart’s goal is to continue trying to match the vehicles with renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, or hydro power, in order to reach a full zero-emissions reduction.