Decarbonising road freight gets JOLT from new project

Project JOLT (Joint Operator Logistics Trial) is led by The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight[1] (SRF) and involves partners including John Lewis Partnership[2], Volvo Trucks UK[3], and Flexible Power Systems[4]. Freight contributed GBP13.6bn to the economy in 2022 and 98 per cent of food and agricultural products are largely carried by HGVs that account for 20 per cent of CO2 emissions from domestic transport. SRF was founded to help industry and government minimise carbon emissions from the road freight sector and is a collaboration between the Cambridge University, Heriot-Watt University, Westminster University plus industry and government partners.

In a statement, JOLT founder David Cebon, a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Cambridge University and director of SRF, said: "The urgency of the climate crisis is driving adoption of electric heavy goods vehicles at a rate that few in the industry would have expected five years ago. "Operators are purchasing and running these vehicles today in fleets of all sizes. But there's still a long way to go to understand how whole fleets and industries can transition to electric heavy goods vehicles in a technically feasible way."

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The JOLT partners will pool data and learning from their experiences with eHGVs in retail, delivery, and manufacturing operations to help develop transition plans for their own businesses and for the wider logistics industry.

Specialists at Cambridge University and Heriot-Watt University will analyse and model data including vehicle and charger performance, operational efficiency, and costs across as many industry uses as possible. Professor Philip Greening, an expert in sustainable transport and logistics at Heriot-Watt University and co-director of SRF said: "A key feature of this project is understanding how the different range and load capabilities of electric heavy goods vehicles - as well as downtime for charging - will affect the efficiency of operators and supply chains. We'll do this by analysing logistics data and technical information collected twins to help us understand operations at scale."

John Lewis Partnership will use an eHGV from Volvo Trucks UK in their logistics operation. The Volvo FM 4x2 tractor unit, is a heavy-duty truck that can carry up to 42 tonnes and can cover up to 300km on a single charge. Justin Laney, partner and general manager of Central Transport for John Lewis Partnership said: "We are delighted to be kick starting this important initiative, which will inform our journey beyond eliminating fossil fuel from our fleet by 2030 to achieving a zero-carbon fleet by 2035."

Project JOLT partners will use electric vehicle fleet management software FPS Operate, provided by Flexible Power Systems. The remote, cloud-based system connects to electric vehicle chargers, vehicles, building metering systems, and operational software. The data collected is then used to provide automated reporting and analytics and to help optimise the scheduling of electric vehicle charging.

Flexible Power Systems' managing director Michael Ayres said: "Transitioning to electric freight can bring risks and costs for business.

With big data and automated management, we can inform investment decisions and take some of the risk out of the transition of road freight traffic to near zero emissions by 2050."

Parties interested in joining Project JOLT scheme should email SRF on [email protected]


  1. ^ The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight (
  2. ^ John Lewis Partnership (
  3. ^ Volvo Trucks UK (
  4. ^ Flexible Power Systems (