Albertsons Rolls Toward Sustainability Goals With Zero-Emission Refrigerated Delivery

Volvo VNR Electric trucks and AEM electric refrigeration units put retailer on road toward greener future
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
a woman smiling for the camera
a blue truck parked on the side of a road
The first commercial 100% zero emissions grocery delivery using a class 8 truck was made at an Albertsons location in California on May 28.

As part of its sustainability efforts, Albertsons Cos. has received two Volvo VNR Electric trucks at its distribution center in Irvine, Calif.

Paired with an electric-powered transport refrigeration unit from Advance Energy Machines (AEM), the Volvo VNR Electric vehicles made the country’s first commercial 100% zero-emission refrigerated grocery delivery using a class 8 truck. The inaugural delivery of frozen goods took place at a LEED-certified Albertsons store in Irvine, Calif., on the morning of Friday, May 28.

Currently, Albertsons has a fleet of more than 1,400 Class 8 trucks that are certified under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Smart Way program. The addition of these two battery-electric zero-tailpipe emission trucks will help the retailer work towards its overarching sustainability initiatives that include fleet electrification. 

“It is the first step (in fleet electrification), but the overall journey is the pathway to zero emissions," Tim Burke, VP of transportation, Albertsons, told Progressive Grocer.

The two new trucks will be operated as part of a pilot program within Albertsons and will be driven by a small team of trained drivers. The results of the pilot program will help the company determine how such vehicles will be used in the fleet going into what will be a more sustainable future, said Burke. “Different variables and inputs will create different scenarios, as we push to determine the range and understand durability and preventive maintenance.” 

Other innovations are part of the new electric-powered transportation, too. “We protect the cold chain at all times with new refrigeration technologies,” added Burke.

Albertsons operates 2,252 retail stores with 1,725 pharmacies, 398 associated fuel centers, 22 dedicated distribution centers and 20 manufacturing facilities. The company’s stores predominantly operate under the banners Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw’s, Star Market, United Supermarkets, Market Street and Haggen. The company is No. 8 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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