By Lance Branquinho
SOUTH Africa’s largest online retailer, Takealot, has expanded its logistics fleet with half a dozen EV trucks. Chinese commercial vehicle and bakkie brand JAC has supplied Takealot with six N75 EV trucks, as it aligns its fleet emissions with future decarbonisation targets.
With its extensive urban distribution depots complemented by pick-up fulfilment centres, Takealot logistics requires short-haul delivery trucks. Aware of the need to decarbonise its operational activities, adding zero tailpipe emission trucks is part of Takealot’s fleet logistics strategy.
The market for commercially available small- and mid-range trucks remains limited in South Africa, with most options being Chinese.
Takealot’s decision to opt for JAC N75 EV trucks resulted from a comprehensive testing and configuration programme. For two years, Takealot and JAC have been exchanging information and analysing real-world delivery data to ascertain the specifications and needs for a fleet of EV trucks. That testing resulted in Takealot’s decision to choose JAC’s N75 model.
Powered by a lithium-ion phosphate battery pack, rated at 106,95kWh of energy density, the N75 benefits from its Chinese sourcing. The world’s largest EV battery manufacturers are located in China, driving both scale and technical innovation relating to chemistries. This allows JAC to integrate the latest high-density battery pack technology into its vehicles.
Compared to conventional lithium-ion EV batteries, the N75’s lithium-ion phosphate chemistry offers several benefits regarding long-term recharging performance and cell integrity. For EV truck owners, depth of discharge and rapid recharging are essential factors to consider. Lithium-ion phosphate batteries suffer less degradation after many recharging cycles, although they do tend to be slightly heavier for a given energy capacity. The JAC N75’s battery pack weighs 700kg.
The JAC N75’s electric motor has a peak power output of 130kW and 1 200Nm of torque, numbers that compare favourably to conventional four-tonne turbodiesel trucks. Claimed operational range for the N75 is 200km, making it suitable for an urban distribution role.
With an onboard electric architecture configured for rapid recharging, the JAC N75’s battery pack can be recharged in only 80 minutes, plugged into a DC fast charger. The braking system also features regenerative energy harvesting during braking, which assists overall efficiency, especially on long declines when the N75 is fully loaded, enhancing the regenerative braking effect.
Topography does not challenge a fully loaded N75, with the electric motor’s immediate torque delivery enabling it to conquer steep gradients while carrying a full load. JAC has tested the N75 on inclines of up to 16,7 degrees with a full load of four tons.
Online retail is about convenience and choice, convenience but also, increasingly, about shopping with a lower CO2 signature by using scalable logistics to be smarter about buying. As global online shopping and logistics fulfilment trends towards greater environmental awareness and lower emissions.