‘Milk-E’: Launch of New Zealand’s first electric milk tanker
The electric milk tanker will operate from the Waitoa site in Fonterra, which was also the site of New Zealand’s largest fleet of electric milk trucks 100 years ago. Photo / Provided
New Zealand’s first electric milk tanker, Milk-E, was officially launched by Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods in Morrinsville.
Employees from local government, Iwi, industry and Fonterra were also on hand to recognize the milestone in the decarbonisation of New Zealand heavy transport, while acknowledging the team behind the construction.
The tanker is part of Fonterra’s fleet decarbonization work and one of many programs helping the cooperative achieve its sustainability goals.
The co-op’s Morrinsville shop team had done “a fantastic job” with the tanker, Fonterra chief operating officer Fraser Wineray said.
“Being a New Zealand first, there has been a lot of creative thinking and Kiwi ingenuity to bring Milk-E to life.”
The electric milk tanker will operate from Fonterra’s Waitoa site, which Whineray said was appropriate given that it was the site of New Zealand’s largest fleet of electric milk trucks. 100 years ago.
The Waitoa factory is also close to farm supply on relatively flat terrain, so the co-op can make shorter trips and reduce battery consumption with fewer hills.
Battery configuration changes gave the team the opportunity to test additions to improve milk collection efficiency, reduce safety issues, and reduce the amount of work required to customize a Fonterra cistern.
A battery swap system is being installed at the Waitoa site to test how this could work within a fleet to minimize downtime due to battery charging.
“It was great to see the team turn challenges into opportunities – so in addition to testing Milk-E’s on-road capability, we’re also testing a new electric pump, hose configuration and cabinets,” said Wineray.
Milk-E was named by Fonterra farmer Stephen Todd of Murchison after the co-op held a “Name the E-tanker” competition which he described as “fierce but friendly”.
Fonterra received co-funding from the government’s Low Emission Transport Fund (LEFT), which is administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).
Nicki Sutherland, head of investment and engagement at EECA Group, said the authority was “pleased to see this project come to life”.
“New Zealand has ambitious targets to rapidly reduce carbon emissions, and transport is essential, but heavy freight has proven difficult to decarbonise.
“If successful, this project could be replicated across a number of New Zealand businesses.”