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Boortmalt Bury St Edmunds takes to the road in an electric Volvo FH Globetrotter

A malt company has become the first in the UK to use an electric lorry.

Boortmalt will use the 44-tonne, £342,000 Volvo FH Globetrotter articulated vehicle to deliver malt from its base in Bury St Edmunds to breweries in Suffolk and Enfield, London.

The company is the first malt firm in the UK to pilot an electric lorry, in a deal struck with Eye-based freight company, Bartrums.

The Volvo FH Globetrotter. Picture Tremayne Johnson/Bartrums
The Volvo FH Globetrotter. Picture Tremayne Johnson/Bartrums

Both companies hope the move will help further electric vehicle technology in the drive towards net zero.

A spokesman for Boortmalt, said: “This Volvo FH Electric represents an important step towards decarbonising the malt supply chain.

“Boortmalt is making significant efforts throughout the supply chain from farm through the malting process and delivery to our valued customers.

Tom Mcnally will drive the new electric vehicle. Picture: Tremayne Johnson/Bartrums
Tom Mcnally will drive the new electric vehicle. Picture: Tremayne Johnson/Bartrums

“The truck will be making deliveries to customers in East Anglia and from its base in Bury St Edmunds, as well as bringing barley to site from our network of suppliers and stores.

“We anticipate that up to 80,000km per year will now be driven by this vehicle in place of diesel, reducing the carbon footprint of our UK supply chain for those km by at least 75 per cent.

“In addition, the vehicle is significantly quieter which will benefit many local communities when we are making deliveries to town centre breweries.

“We also have gas powered trucks operating in several markets around the world and more electric trucks are in the pipeline.

Tom McNally at the lorry's charging point
Tom McNally at the lorry's charging point

Boortmalt, which has its headquarters in Belgium, is one of the world’s largest malt producers and has a network of 27 plants on five continents, operating at the leading edge of sustainability and innovation.

Bury St Edmunds is the biggest maltings in East Anglia, one of four plants the company operates in the UK.

The Volvo FH Globetrotter 540 watt, 666hp truck, will deliver malt to breweries Greene King, Bury St Edmunds, Adnams , Southwold, Carlsberg, Northampton, and Beavertown, Enfield, London.

Bartrums have worked with Boortmalt for more than 30 years, and has leased the vehicle from Volvo, which is supporting the move.

The lorry is fully charged in around four hours by a 150-kilowatt charger at Boortmalt's base, where it also generates its own electricity. It has a range of around 200 miles and will be used daily.

Operations director, Tremayne Johnson, said: “This is a flagship project both for Bartrums and Boortmalt and discussions started early in 2023 with a decision soon made to select the Volvo FH Globetrotter.

“The vehicle was recently awarded International Truck of the Year – 2024, an accolade which certainly vindicates the decision to choose it.

“The truck and trailer were also both subject to a very suitable and unique livery, emphasising Boortmalt’s low carbon credentials and impressive sustainability goals.

“The rig will be a spectacular and unmistakable sight on the roads.

“Boortmalt are early adopters of a new technology that is currently in its early stages within heavy commercial vehicles. This is an industry first.

“With any new technology, it also progresses and improves and the product in five years time will be more efficient than in 2024.

“Vehicle manufacturers need business and need industry to support their product to enable them to continue to develop it.

“And that’s exactly what Boortmalt are doing.

“The UK is committed to a move away from fossil fuels and diesel simply is not the future.”