IKEA, TransPower Mark Anniversary of Electric Tractor Demo


IKEA and TransPower have completed a full year of testing and evaluation of an all-electric yard tractor at the IKEA Distribution Center in Tejon, Calif.

The Kalmar tractor features an electric propulsion technology developed by TransPower for heavy-duty vehicles. This demonstration, initiated on Sept. 24, 2014, was the first long-term trial of an electric yard truck at any IKEA facility worldwide.

TransPower says the tractor has accumulated more than 13,000 miles of operation since its deployment with IKEA, and its rate of use was increased over the past year, as it became IKEA’s preferred tractor due to its “high reliability and low operating cost.”

“The TransPower electric tractor exceeded our expectations across the board. We routinely use this tractor for three shifts per day, and it has shown reliability at least equal to that of a typical diesel tractor,” comments Jim Cavezza, IKEA’s deputy distribution operation manager.

According to TransPower, the cost of energy for the electric tractor is less than 3 cents per mile, compared to more than 75 cents per mile for a diesel tractor. These cost savings were enabled, in part, because the Tejon facility has a 1.8 MW solar array on the roof, which provides 90% of the electrical energy used to charge the tractor’s 120 lithium-ion batteries.

Renewable charging of the tractor also enhanced CO2 reduction. At its current rate of utilization, the TransPower tractor eliminates approximately 50 tons of CO2 each year, according to Frank Falcone, TransPower’s director of powertrain engineering and manager of its electric yard tractor product line.

“Based on the tremendous success of this project, we have decided to purchase this tractor and enter it into our Tejon fleet permanently, and we are looking for opportunities that could help us acquire additional TransPower vehicles for all of our North America logistic units,” says Adolfo Kurczyn, sustainability manager at IKEA Distribution Services North America.

Funding for manufacturing and demonstration of the IKEA electric tractor was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. Representatives of these agencies, IKEA and TransPower attended an event at the Tejon Distribution Center last week to commemorate the successful completion of the tractor’s first year of operation.

Since the tractor was delivered to IKEA, four additional tractors of this design have been converted by TransPower and placed into operation throughout California.

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