Sligro Food Group recently conducted a technical test in Amsterdam with the Solar City Train from manufacturer Trens. Sligro already delivers in Den Bosch and Vlissingen with this special apparition.
"We wanted to know how the vehicle would cope in the special infrastructure of Amsterdam," says Sligro spokesman Wilco Jansen to Out.of.Home Shops. "The narrow roads along the canals and steep bridges are challenging with the small streets and tight turns. And we have a lot of delivery addresses in the centre of Amsterdam. We tested whether the Solar Train could handle this and it certainly did. However, we have no concrete plans to deploy the vehicle in Amsterdam any time soon," Jansen said.
At Sligro, however, they are working on electrification of delivery. There will be 25 new electric trucks in Amsterdam soon. "But these are classic box trucks, so they are the same size and weight as the fuel-powered trucks we have now," Jansen explains. "In Amsterdam we have built a separate charging infrastructure to charge the trucks."
In addition, Sligro is looking at the urban distribution of the future. Especially the old cities present a challenge. "Those are still built for horse and cart and certainly not for trucks," Jansen explains. "To keep livability intact there, in cities like Amsterdam and Utrecht, the axle load of vehicles must be reduced. This can be done by carrying less freight or, as with the Solar Train, having more axles under the vehicles. Years ago, we started looking at a solution with Trens. The disadvantage is that this vehicle, like any electric vehicle, is still very expensive."
"Importantly, the Solar Train can take standard roll containers. The whole logistics system in foodservice and food retail is geared to roll containers. Other electric vehicles for delivery are often smaller and use crates. That would mean additional transfer, which is very inefficient. The Solar Train even has an elevator platform on the side so that loading and unloading can be done from the sidewalk," Jansen says.
The test in Amsterdam showed that the Solar Train can handle the tricky city of our capital. "But we are still going to test with all kinds of other vehicles," Jansen concludes.