The Swedish Rival to Tesla's Semi Scores a Deal With PepsiCo to Deliver Snacks in the UK

  • PepsiCo has ordered two trucks from Einride, an electric vehicle maker, to transport its Walkers chips in central England.
  • The deal will give Sweden's Einride a foothold in the U.K., while also furthering PepsiCo's aim of decarbonizing its fleet operations.
  • Einride is establishing a so-called freight mobility grid in the U.K. aimed at maximizing inventory use and optimizing delivery routes.

Swedish electric vehicle manufacturer Einride has signed a deal with PepsiCo to supply electric trucks that would transport Walkers chips in the U.K.

It marks Einride's first move into the U.K. market, with two of the company's electric semitrucks being sold to PepsiCo to transport goods starting in July, the company said. The deal will give Einride a foothold in the U.K., while also furthering PepsiCo's aim of decarbonizing its fleet operations.

Stockholm-based Einride was founded in 2016. Its aim is to replace the diesel engines that dominate the heavy freight business with electric — and eventually, autonomous — trucks.

Home appliances company GE Appliances began testing an Einride vehicle without a safety driver on board on U.S. public roads in October 2022. Einride said its U.K. vehicles will be driven by human operators.

Einride's vehicles compete with Tesla, which has its own line of Semi heavy-duty electric trucks. Tesla began deliveries of its big rigs to customers including PepsiCo in December, after delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and battery supply issues, among other things.

How it'll operate in the UK

As part of its U.K. expansion, Einride will establish its own so-called freight mobility grid, which, according to CEO Robert Falck, allows logistics partners to "optimize routes, improve fuel efficiency, and reduce emissions, while also providing real-time visibility and transparency into the delivery process."

Operating electric trucks to ship goods across countries at scale is a tough thing to accomplish. It requires having enough charging stations and other infrastructure to ensure a full journey can be completed without running out of battery.

Einride invests in charging infrastructure from other firms, Falck said — but it also uses its software to figure out how to get the most of the vehicles it has in deployment. That's different from traditional trucking operators, he said, explaining that the standard fill rate — or how many trucks are being used as a percentage of total inventory — in the industry is less than 30%.

"So we're looking at a transport system, where the efficiency is 6%," Falck said. "So that means that you are at 94% waste of the potential of the transport system itself. And that kind of inefficiency creates a lot of challenges, or both the cost of pricing, but also the efficiency of the system itself."

Unlike Tesla, which sells trucks it has built itself, Einride's trucks are manufactured by partners like Daimler and Scania and its focus is on developing the technology inside the vehicles. Falk compared its model with that of Apple, which designs its iPhones but contracts electronics products manufacturer Foxconn to make them.

Einride said its U.K. mobility grid will start in central England, initially with a route running from Leicester to Coventry, and later extend along some of the U.K.'s busiest motorways connecting major metropolitan cities.

The firm aims to reduce fossil fuel-powered distances by over 250,000 miles annually, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1,623 tons over three years, and put the U.K. on a path to net zero, according to a statement.

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