If we were prone to naming vehicles this one could easily be tagged Stubby McBluntyface – however the Mitsubishi Fuso eCanter electric delivery vehicle is a lot more than just its name.
It may also be the tip of the greenberg in terms of plotting the way forward for local deliveries, and SAB and AB InBev Africa appear to be grabbing the battery by the poles, to mangle metaphors.
Stubby is the first of his type in South Africa, arrived in SA by at least 2014, and was finally picked up as a test vehicle in 2019.
Before the wags start chirping about how will the company recharge it with no electricity, plugging it in will collapse Eskom, Eskom will have to switch off the trains to power Stubby and so on and so forth, the genius of the plan is that SAB and AB InBev Africa will be generating its own electricity through solar power.
First, Stubby’s measurements.
Unlike the Prius wannabe, Stubby is all-electric with a “70kWh water-cooled lithium-ion battery pack, the Fuso eCanter develops 185kW and 380Nm of torque while weighing in at 7 500kg. It can carry a payload of 4 630kg which can be increased if you opt for a smaller battery,” a CAR magazine review stated.
He will do about 120km with a top speed of 60km/h on a 100% charge, and when he returns to base, will take an hour to charge to 80%, using DC power. A full charge requires seven hours on AC, which can happen overnight when Eskom isn’t busting a pipe to stay online.
This means in a working day up to four trips (as long as they’re only 50km away) can be done. Ideally, as the plan expands, charge points could be placed further out allowing greater reach.
From the official release: “SAB and AB InBev Africa is in the process of working on a Pan African Renewable Energy tender, which would seek to source an equivalent of 440 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity to meet our 2025 target in Africa.
“This represents an initial investment of about R5.6-billion for installation at these facilities, which would be invested by the business’s development partners with a further R12.4 billion in energy cost that would be committed by AB InBev over a 20-year period.”
Phase 1 represents on-site solar installations, phase 2 are renewable energy solutions installed on land adjacent to SAB’s breweries – which would be hard-wire cables to its breweries – while phase 3 will involve offsite renewable energy solutions, comprised of remote installations requiring wheeling agreements to deliver the power to the breweries.
The carbon footprint of Stubby’s manufacture and transport to SA are problems which have yet to be overcome but to have a zero-emission vehicle trundling around powered chiefly by renewable energy is a start.
And for the project to completely succeed, would require a mind shift from government.
“The energy generated by these systems typically represent around 10% to 15% of our site requirements,” said SAB and AB InBev Africa vice-president of sustainability Taryn Rosekilly.
“However, in order to reach our 100% goal, we need to source from off-site renewable energy facilities as well.”