Oatly goes electric with new milk trucks

Smaller companies are getting savvy about green energy.
Written by Greg Nichols, Contributing Writer

Green technology is low hanging fruit for companies with a progressive ethos. The latest example is Oatly, the world's largest oatmilk company, expanding a partnership with leading electric freight company Einride

The partnership will bring electric trucks to Oatly's North American operations after seeing success in Europe for the past two years. This initiative is tied to Oatly's broader set of sustainability ambitions the company is working against by 2029, and it's a good example of how many companies see pursuing next-gen technologies as supporting a broader brand identity.

"Oatly is on a mission to transform the global food system into one that is healthier for people and the planet. A critical part of that system includes the transportation we and the broader food and beverage industry utilize across the supply chain," said Chi Mbachu, VP of Logistics at Oatly, North America. "Any improvements we can make across our business to have less of an impact on the environment, including within our transportation logistics, is a step in the right direction and something we constantly strive for at Oatly. We're thrilled to get these electric trucks on the road in North America and continue our global transition to sustainable ground transportation."

One interesting point here, and a possible bellwether for electric trucking, is that Oatly is a smaller business compared to the companies that traditionally invest in and bring electric trucks into their logistics operations (FedEx, PepsiCo, AB InBev, Wal-Mart, etc). The pace of Oatly's adoption of electric, which comes on the heels of successful implementation in Europe, is also noteworthy, emphasizing the value-add the brand sees in being a leader in carbon-free shipping. Oatmilk is inherently less taxing for the planet than traditional dairy operations, a point Oatly displays prominently in its marketing and messaging.

Freight makes up about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, a figure that's on pace to double by 2050 if new technologies aren't rolled out. Trucking, however, is undergoing a massive reimagining with the advent of automation and, crucially, electric vehicles.

Einride provides electric freight solutions, including connected electric trucks, charging infrastructure, and connectivity services. The company estimates that utilizing a fleet of five trucks in the US will save Oatly an estimated 400,000 kg of CO2 over the next year, as compared to using diesel trucks on the same routes. That's a carbon footprint reduction of 87% on selected routes, as compared to using diesel trucks. 

Oatly is utilizing its fleet of five electric trucks from its two currently operating factories in the US, located in Ogden, UT, and Millville, NJ. Multi-purpose routes are scheduled routinely from Oatly plants to nearby recycling and packaging partners.

As one of the first companies in Europe to implement a fleet of heavy-duty electric trucks beginning in October 2020, Oatly operates four electric trucks across various routes in the region. In Sweden, Oatly operates 24/7 live transports between its production facilities and warehouse partners. In Europe, Oatly sees an 87% reduction in CO2 utilizing the fleet of four electric trucks, compared to diesel equivalents on the same routes. The company expects to save 2,000 tons of CO2 by the fifth year of the initiative's operations.

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