A new state-of-the-art supercharger has been installed at Welch’s Transport HQ ahead of the arrival of the company’s first fully electric HGV. The most powerful supercharger for EVs in Cambridgeshire, the high-power EVD-150 DC charging unit is ideal for commercial charging and is easy to use via a bespoke app.

Ahead of the installation, Welch’s undertook a detailed decarbonisation report, completed by the Energy Saving Trust. The analysis confirmed Welch’s Transport “take their environmental responsibility seriously, and show a strong ambition to minimise carbon emissions”.

The Welch’s team conducted significant preparation work to ensure the grid could handle the power of the new supercharger. The Energy Saving Trust report gave recommendations to put in place an infrastructure development strategy in line with Welch’s plans for fleet electrification.

The report also said that there may be enough power within the grid connection for the whole fleet to be battery electric. It found that, with on-site infrastructure, a fully battery electric rigid fleet could be accommodated for overnight charging between the two existing grid connections at the Duxford depot, with minimal work beyond installing AC charge points for each vehicle. The report concluded that an investment in charging infrastructure will enable rapid decarbonisation at Welch’s Transport.

The installation of the supercharger took place over two days and was a collaborative effort between Welch’s team and project EV experts. The unit offers ultra-rapid dual charging for commercial vehicles and, as part of Welch’s commitment to the Transport Association, the charger will be available for commercial use for other HGV users. This makes it the first readily available HGV charging point in Cambridgeshire.

A report from the National Grid released in May 2022 showed that zero-emission HGVs will require similar connections to the electricity transmission system required by cars and vans. However, infrastructure for charging heavy goods vehicles is not yet sufficient to fuel long-distance deliveries.

Director of Welch’s Transport, Chris Welch said: “Seeing the installation of our new supercharger has brought to life our vision for a greener future. As well as being a Cambridgeshire first, the charger represents our plans to help the City Council and businesses in the city centre realise and achieve their Net Zero ambitions.

“Presently, a shortage in charging infrastructure and expensive charging costs, are making it exceedingly difficult for freight and haulage companies to make the switch to EVs. More needs to be done to provide the required charging points, so collectively we can make a change. In January motoring groups banded together to issue a stark message to ministers, urging more to be done to provide the infrastructure required to make the switch. Until infrastructure across the country catches up, we are focussing our sustainability targets on delivering cleaner last-mile deliveries in Cambridge. The combination of our knowledgeable local drivers, new electric HGV and now, new high-tech supercharger, means we are well positioned to do exactly that.”

Welch’s new 19-tonne EV will be able to transport general haulage, palleted and hazardous goods. The arrival of the EV will pave the way for Cambridge businesses to benefit from a Net Zero pallet delivery service.