IKEA has announced its plans to adopt a zero-emission electric tractor into its fleet for permanent use. This news comes after a full year of testing on an advanced electric yard tractor at IKEA’s Tejon, CA distribution center. This is the first long-term trial of an electric fleet vehicle at an IKEA facility. TransPower manufactured the tractor for IKEA in cooperation with the EPA and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. The tractor features electric propulsion technology that significantly decreases CO2 emissions.
Since deployment in September of 2014, IKEA has noted the tractor’s reliability and low operating cost compared to equivalent diesel tractors. The company typically uses the electric tractor for three shifts per day, accumulating over 13,000 miles in operation in the last year. At this rate of use, the tractor reduces CO2 emissions by 50 tons per year. TransPower has since converted four additional tractors for IKEA’s California operations.
The energy cost of the tractor’s operation is less than 3 cents per mile, largely due to the facility’s 1.8 megawatt solar roof installation. This solar array provides 90% of the energy needed to charge the tractor’s 120 lithium-ion batteries. In comparison, the same operation of a diesel tractor costs about 75 cents per mile.
TransPower, located in Poway, develops clean vehicles and energy storage technologies. The company has developed the proprietary ElecTruck, an electric drive system for large tractors, trucks, and buses and the Grid-Saver energy storage system. TransPower is currently developing products with hybrid-electric and fuel cell hybrid propulsion technology.