Trusted by some of the country’s biggest blue chip brands, it focuses on delivering value-adding, efficient warehousing and logistics solutions to customers. Central to its success is a focus on sustainability through minimising environmental impact and fully embracing development opportunities.
We trialled our first electric truck, and it worked brilliantly. The only sensible option was to buy it, and put it into full time service as quickly as possible.
Knowles Logistics’ focus on sustainability is demonstrated by the fact it runs a fleet of Volvo FH 460 with I-Save tractor units – one of the most fuel-efficient 44-tonners on the market for long-distance transport.
But in the second quarter of 2023, Knowles Logistics took up the option of a three-week trial with a Volvo FE Electric 19-tonne rigid, mounted with a 23ft Bevan curtainside body and tail-lift. It was a chance to establish the viability of an electric truck for real-world operation, with the demonstrator supplied by local dealer Volvo Truck and Bus Centre South & East.
The FE Electric was deployed on a local collection and delivery schedule, with its short 5,500mm wheelbase making it ideal for restricted urban environments. Plus, its electric powertrain promised zero tailpipe emissions and quiet operation, helping to keep local towns and cities clean and quiet.
The demonstrator proved to be so successful in service, Knowles Logistics elected to buy it, setting an exciting precedent for the future of the business.
It quickly earned praise from the company’s drivers, and alleviated any business concerns about range, offering up to 200km between charges – which proved more than sufficient for local collection and delivery work.
Alex Knowles, Managing Director, says: “The Volvo FE Electric proved the perfect urban electric truck platform and gave us immediate confidence that we could bring electric vehicles into our fleet, in the right application. Not all trucks operate over long-distances; the demonstrator was comfortably able to complete a whole shift on a single charge, with back-at-base charging.”
Knowles explains: “We trialled our first electric truck, and it worked brilliantly. The only sensible option was to buy it and put it into full time service as quickly as possible. There are plenty of businesses marketing their sustainability credentials without backing it up with investment; we are not one of them.
“We are really excited about this step into the future with our new Volvo FE Electric. All the drivers in our fleet were keen to take part in our trial, and this battery electric truck will be the first of many for the business, as we push forward on the road to net zero.”
Knowles Logistics has since invested in a 150kW charging unit to allow the vehicle to be charged within just two hours, meaning it can cover two shifts per day, if required.
True to its word, the company has gone on to place orders for three Volvo FM Electric 4x2 tractor units, expanding its zero tailpipe emission fleet further.