Goldstar Transport’s Sean Carren has never been shy of dipping a toe into the future – after the homework has been done that is. But a big part of the homework in transport takes place after the presentation is given, the specs determined, the graphs examined and the promises assessed.
It’s done by working a new truck or new technology in real-world commercial conditions, where time waits for no engineer, stylist, or accountant, and customers simply want on-time, on-budget performance.
Where a driver has a job to do and a reasonable deadline to meet, fully expecting that when he or she turns the key – or presses the button – the truck will go and keep going until the job’s done.
So, the likelihood of Goldstar Transport using electric Fuso Canters in the fleet for local pick-up and delivery was not dependent on Daimler Trucks convincing Sean Carren that it was a good idea. Instead, it depended entirely on what happens over the next several months, as the first eCanter goes to work in Perth and the second one joins it early next year.
Big Rigs spoke to Sean about the new truck before the Daimler executives arrived for the official handover. His team had been busy making sure the truck was ready for its photo shoot, as well as getting a couple of pallets of Coca-Cola product ready as props. Coke is one of Goldstar’s long-term customers, and along with Woollies has joined Goldstar to partner the assessment of the eCanter in the distribution network.
The partnerships are a lot more than handshakes and encouragement. Both companies have worked hand in hand with Goldstar and are working through the requirements for charging platforms on the respective sites, which will be used in conjunction with the charge station at the Goldstar depot. eCanter’s around 150km range (on a good day with a good driver) will then be managed with sizeable safety margins. Whilst not in place yet, solar power generation on-site is a complimentary objective.
Clearly the philosophy is to “Charge when Stopped”, rather than “Stop to Charge.” Transport operators are of one mind when looking at interrupting a delivery run for big chunks of time, other than necessary rest stops.
The Goldstar team have planned routes very carefully and will include some delivery points where excessive noise is not appreciated. Hospitals, care facilities and the like won’t miss diesel clatter when daily requirements of food and other supplies are delivered.
Primarily, Sean is aiming at a steady but determined “greening” of the company’s fleet of 170 vehicles, a process that starts with the first truck. Coca-Cola Euro-Pacific and Woollies are just as determined as Goldstar to minimise environmental impacts across their vast networks as customer demand for product deliveries continues to expand.
It may be some time before daily road trains are heading north from Perth with only an electric hum as accompaniment. Vast distances, mostly flat roads and extraordinary ambient temperatures are entrenched enemies of battery performance. But Goldstar’s Fuso eCanter is a stepping-stone in that direction, and, if Sean gets his way, an electric Actros rigid or prime mover may join the fleet late next year to accelerate Goldstar’s path to zero-carbon deliveries.
Check with Big Rigs mid-2023 to see how the Goldstar eCanter is travelling.