Two new battery-electric semi-trucks and five zero-emission refrigerated trailer systems provide the UNFI fleet a zero-emission solution for customer deliveries; helps UNFI not only reduce emissions by 2030 but also improves logistics efficiency and lowers delivery cost-per-mile.
United Natural Foods, Inc. (NYSE: UNFI) (the “Company” or “UNFI”) today announces that it is taking its next steps toward a zero-emissions future by deploying two battery-electric semi-trucks and five regenerative electric refrigerated trailer systems. UNFI is deploying the trucks and trailers in the Sacramento and Gilroy, California markets, just in time for the peak holiday selling season.
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UNFI's new zero-emission refrigerated delivery system on route to customers in the Sacramento, CA market. (Photo: Business Wire)
UNFI worked with Penske Truck Leasing to secure two, class-8 electric trucks, which include the Freightliner eCascadia, and the Volvo VNR Electric models. Both vehicles are well equipped for safety and driver comfort and include air-ride seats, air suspension, easy charging, and ample battery range and torque to meet UNFI’s typical freight hauling and delivery needs.
UNFI will combine these trucks with refrigerated trailers cooled by Carrier’s Vector™ eCool™ transport refrigeration unit (TRU). The all-electric Vector eCool uses power generated by ConMet eMobility’s nMotion™ TR 160-45, an in-wheel electric motor application that repurposes energy captured during coasting and braking. The combination of clean, regenerated energy and Carrier’s powerful Vector unit will help UNFI keep customers’ deliveries cold mile after mile while creating zero emissions.
UNFI recently completed a study focused on heavy-duty fleet electrification planning, funded by the CA Energy Commission. The results are helping to define the steps required to implement charging infrastructure and electric vehicles at multiple locations, including the Company facility in Gilroy. The innovative technology described in today’s release will reduce fleet fuel life cycle greenhouse gas emissions and harmful pollutants while delivering more efficiently and cost-effectively to our customers.
“The introduction of these efficient electric trucks and refrigerated trailers is a huge step forward, not only toward lowering our delivery costs-per-mile and achieving our own clean transportation goals, but also in helping UNFI achieve California’s ambitious goals on the adoption of zero-emission vehicles,” said Nick Selders, VP of Transportation at UNFI. “Implementing this zero-emission delivery solution will enable us become more cost efficient and prevent hundreds of metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere per year.”
“We’re pleased to collaborate with innovative customers like UNFI as they implement their fleet electrification initiatives and advance their sustainability commitments,” said Patrick Watt, Vice President, Alternative Vehicle and Emerging Technology at Penske Truck Leasing. “We were able to accelerate this project with funding through California’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP). The availability of HVIP funding is important as it helps fleets offset a portion of the incremental costs of implementing new, commercial electric vehicle technologies.”
“Today’s announcement is a testament to the creativity and collaboration that go into bringing truly sustainable transport refrigeration solutions to market,” said Alice DeBiasio, Vice President and General Manager, Truck Trailer Americas and Digital Solutions, Carrier. “We’re excited to see our Vector eCool units, using energy recovery and storage from the ConMet eMobility system, improve UNFI’s efficiency and environmental impact.”
Mr. Selders added, “it was the combination of efforts from our partners at Penske, ConMet, Carrier, and PLM Fleet that enabled UNFI to put this zero-emission delivery solution together. They have all been fantastic to work with and we are looking forward to bringing more battery-electric rigs online.”
“Driving the new electric truck has been great. It’s smooth, quiet, and super comfortable. The sporty look makes for a fun drive, and it has a lot of power. I get a lot of looks and questions from other drivers. Hopefully I can drive this truck every day,” said Brian Schrimsher, a 20-year UNFI Driver.
UNFI is North America's premier grocery wholesaler delivering the widest variety of fresh, branded, and owned brand products to more than 30,000 locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, ecommerce providers, and food service customers. UNFI also provides a broad range of value-added services and segmented marketing expertise, including proprietary technology, data, market insights, and shelf management to help customers and suppliers build their businesses and brands. As the largest full-service grocery partner in North America, UNFI is committed to building a food system that is better for all and is uniquely positioned to deliver great food, more choices, and fresh thinking to customers. To learn more about how UNFI is delivering value for its stakeholders, visit www.unfi.com.
About Penske Truck Leasing
Penske Truck Leasing is a Penske Transportation Solutions company headquartered in Reading, Pennsylvania. A leading provider of innovative transportation solutions, Penske operates and maintains more than 440,000 vehicles and serves its customers from more than 940 maintenance facilities and more than 2,600 rental locations across North America. Solutions from Penske include full-service truck leasing, fleet maintenance, truck rentals, used trucks, and a comprehensive array of technologies to keep the world moving forward. Visit PenskeTruckLeasing.com to learn more.
ConMet, a division of Amsted Industries, is a leading global supplier of wheel hubs, aluminum castings, and structural plastics to original equipment manufacturers and aftermarket channels in the commercial vehicle industry. Founded in 1964, ConMet innovation has been critical in designing, engineering, and manufacturing revolutionary technologies for trucks and trailers. Today, ConMet products are standard equipment on most heavy-duty vehicles in North America and have a growing footprint worldwide.
ConMet eMobility was established in 2020 to address the needs and challenges of clean energy technology. The growing team has years of experience in electrical engineering, system controls, battery science, and more. Together with the unmatched wheel end expertise and support of ConMet, ConMet eMobility is enabling the development of zero-emission commercial vehicles, capturing, and regenerating the kinetic energy that would otherwise go wasted. For more information, visit conmet.com/innovation/emobility.
Carrier Transicold helps improve transport and shipping of temperature-controlled cargoes with a complete line of equipment and services for refrigerated transport and cold chain visibility. For more than 50 years, Carrier Transicold has been an industry leader, providing customers around the world with advanced, energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable container refrigeration systems and generator sets, direct-drive and diesel truck units, and trailer refrigeration systems. Carrier Transicold is a part of Carrier Global Corporation, global leader in intelligent climate and energy solutions that matter for people and our planet for generations to come. For more information, visit www.trucktrailer.carrier.com.
About PLM Fleet, LLC
PLM Fleet® is the largest nationwide, technology-driven company dedicated to refrigerated trailer leasing and cold supply chain solutions. Located in the state-of-the-art fleet solutions center in Newark, NJ, PLM has 32 locations nationwide and over 14,000 refrigerated trailers. Visit plmfleet.com to review all the financing, technology and services that help our customers improve fleet and product lifecycle efficiencies and cost savings in the cold supply chain.
Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding the Company’s business that are not historical facts are “forward-looking statements” that involve risks and uncertainties and are based on current expectations and management estimates; actual results may differ materially. The risks and uncertainties which could impact these statements include those described in the Company’s filings under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended July 30, 2023 filed with the SEC on September 26, 2023 and other filings the Company makes with the SEC. Any forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and, as such, speak only as of the date made. The Company is not undertaking to update any information contained in this press release to reflect subsequently occurring events or circumstances. Any estimates of future results of operations are based on a number of assumptions, many of which are outside the Company’s control and should not be construed in any manner as a guarantee that such results will in fact occur. These estimates are subject to change and could differ materially from final reported results.