Knowles Logistics is expanding its fleet of zero tailpipe emission electric trucks with the
delivery of three Volvo FM Electric 4×2 tractor units. They will operate with tri-axle
curtainside trailers at 42-tonnes gross vehicle weight, on a short-shunt operation for
longstanding customer and international food and drink group Princes Limited.

Serving as direct replacements for diesel vehicles, the FM Electrics will run on 100 per cent
clean energy – 15 per cent of which is generated via on-site solar panels – and will
collectively save 260,000 kg of C0 2 per annum. They will be charged via a 150kW on-site
fast charger, with top-up charges carried out during each driver’s 45-minute statutory rest
break, ensuring they can be double shifted and remain in operation 24/7.

The three vehicles have been supplied by Volvo Truck and Bus Centre South & East’s Key
Account Manager, Alan Didwell, in a five-battery configuration, ensuring the optimum
combination of range and payload capacity for local work. They will run continuously
between Princes’ manufacturing sites 10 miles away in Long Sutton, and two miles away in
Wisbech, directly into Knowles’ warehousing facilities – each clocking-up around
80,000km per year.

Alex Knowles, Managing Director of Knowles Logistics, says: “‘As one of the fastest growing
transport providers in the country, this is a great milestone on our sustainability journey. This
latest investment in a clear demonstration of how we work with customers to reduce the
carbon footprint of their logistics operations.

“What we’ve been able to achieve with these FM Electrics is nothing short of impressive.
They perform as direct replacements for diesel vehicles on a factory clearance application,
with fast charging meaning they stop for very short periods whilst topping up. What’s more,
by carefully planning our loading configuration, we can take full advantage of being able to
operate at 42-tonnes on five axles. This is a weight-critical application, and we’re pretty
much hitting the same payload figures as a diesel truck achieves.”

Volvo Truck and Bus Centre South & East has supported the delivery of the vehicles by
providing tailored coaching for Knowles Logistics’ team of driver trainers, enabling them to
roll-out specific training internally. They also benefit from Volvo Connect, which will enable
the company to monitor the performance of the electric trucks and the efficiency of drivers,
as well as quickly identifying areas of improvement through customised reporting – helping
to boost fleet productivity and energy efficiency.

The three trucks are also backed by a comprehensive four-year Volvo Gold Contract, which
will see all maintenance undertaken at the local dealership in Cambridge, just 15 miles away.
The Volvo Gold Contract also guarantees the performance of the traction batteries beyond
the two-year warranty that comes with the truck as standard, for customer peace of mind.

Knowles Logistics first gained experience of operating electric trucks in 2023, with the
delivery of a 19-tonne Volvo FE Electric rigid truck, with curtainside body and tail-lift. It used
this first vehicle to establish the viability of an electric truck for real-word operation,
deploying it on multi-drop pallet work locally.

Knowles adds: “Acquiring the FE Electric last year gave us immediate confidence that we
could bring electric vehicles into our fleet, in the right application.”