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McDonald’s to pilot EV distribution truck in Montreal

McDonald’s Canada has begun an electric vehicle (EV) truck trial in Montreal using the Volvo VNR...

IMAGE: the McDonald's branded Volvo VNR class 8

A McDonald’s-branded Volvo VNR class 8 at one of the franchise locations. (Courtesy McDonald’s Canada)

McDonald’s Canada has begun an electric vehicle (EV) truck trial in Montreal using the Volvo VNR Class 8 tractor to supply its restaurants in the region.

The EV will be operated and leased by Martin Brower Canada out of its Baie d’Urfé distribution. The Volvo VNR will tow McDonald’s-branded trailers to make deliveries within 150 km of the Baie d’Urfé terminal.

Brower, a logistics provider specializing in food service, has also installed on-site charging infrastructure to accommodate the EV.

“We plan to use the coming months to observe the vehicle’s effectiveness and reliability during a variety of weather conditions, including rain, sunshine, heat and the cold,” the company stated in an email to SustainableBiz.

Depending on the outcome of the trial, McDonald’s Canada (MCD-N), which is headquartered in Toronto, will consider expanding the fleet in Montreal, or replacing more diesel-powered vehicles with EVs in other viable Canadian markets.

The Volvo VNR class 8

Truck classes are determined by their gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), or the maximum weight the vehicle can safely transport. In this case, Class-8 trucks have a GVWR of 33,000 lbs.

Volvo’s VNR electric truck was first introduced to U.S. markets a little over two years ago, and the new Class-8 version was announced in January. It is available in four- and six-battery versions, although McDonald’s did not state which version it is using.

The six-battery configuration has a maximum energy storage capacity of 565 KWh, and its per-charge range is 442 km.

The tractor’s fast-charging capability will allow the four-battery version to achieve an 80-per-cent charge in an hour at 375 KWh, while the six-battery will take 90 minutes to reach that charge level. Volvo says the six-battery charging performance is an 85-per-cent improvement over the original version of the VNR.

The VNR tops out at a speed of 109 km/h.

“This trial has the potential to influence a major shift in the way we approach supply-chain distribution that will bring us closer to reaching McDonald’s net-zero goals,” said Jacques Mignault, president and CEO of McDonald’s Canada, in a statement on the trial.

“Considering the potential impact the trial could have on our business and our global greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments, this is an extremely significant moment for the company.”

The Volvo VNRs will be serviced at the Camions Volvo dealership in Dorval, a southwestern suburb of Montreal. The dealership is one of two recently announced electric vehicle dealerships certified by Volvo in Canada.

Volvo aims to make EVs 50 per cent of its sales by 2030.

With 1,400 restaurants in Canada and a goal of global net-zero GHG emissions by 2050, McDonald’s sees the zero-tailpipe emission Volvo as a major step in that plan.

McDonald’s has planned another trial with the same vehicle later this year in Brampton, which is just north of the City of Toronto within the Greater Toronto Area.

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