Along with the latest models from major car manufacturers parked on the show floor, visitors to the Michigan International Auto Show got to check out Meijer’s new electric semitruck. Held Feb. 2-5 at the DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids, this year’s show spotlighted an array of more sustainable vehicles used for both personal and commercial use.
Attendees could walk up to the semi and learn more about the green features of the Class 8 tractor. The all-electric semi is designed for a 230-mile range and reduces well-to-wheel greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% compared to diesel trucks. It is powered by a 438 kWh-battery and is made by Daimler Truck North America.
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“Visitors loved seeing our truck at the Auto Show. This was a first for us, so we were honored to be invited to the 'Electric Avenue' section of the show and give customers a look at the newest truck in our fleet that is working hard to deliver their groceries every day,” Dave Hoover, Meijer director of outbound logistics, told Progressive Grocer.
Meijer’s new electric-powered semis are unique in that the trucks make grocery runs in a particularly cold climate. In December, the company became the first grocer to roll out the two-truck fleet outside of California, operating from its distribution center in Lansing, Mich. “Our Michigan weather is a big part of why we were chosen by Daimler Truck North America and Department of Energy to operate these trucks in 2019. The industry needs to know long-term how real-world applications of the cold temperature affects battery life and range,” Hoover added.
Last year, Meijer announced a goal to reduce absolute carbon emissions by 50% by 2025. “We have already managed to reduce emissions by 17% since 2014, even while opening 54 new stores and additional distribution center facilities. This is equal to a 30% reduction in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per square foot,” reported Erik Petrovskis, Meijer's director of environmental compliance and sustainability. “We’ve made significant progress over the years but look forward to making an even bigger impact.”
Beyond emissions, the retailer has continually unveiled sustainability projects in its home state and across its Midwest footprint, such as beach-cleaning robots and parking lots made with materials including recycled grocery bags. “Fred Meijer, who led the company for more than 40 years, vowed to 'leave the world in a little better shape than when I entered it,’ and Meijer plans to uphold that commitment through implementing sustainable initiatives throughout its entire operation,” explained Petrovskis. “We are building on our longstanding commitment to the environment by integrating environmental sustainability into daily operations and to continual improvement through smart decisions and innovations that benefit customers and the broader community.”
Privately owned Meijer operates more than 400 supercenters, neighborhood markets and Express locations throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The company is No. 20 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.