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Scania’s electric truck runs steady on the roads in South Africa

21 MARCH 2023

As a global transport solutions provider, Scania has rolled out electric trucks and buses on four continents thus far. In August 2022, time had come for South African retail company Shoprite Group to pilot a heavy-duty electric truck as part of its fleet. And, thanks to a signage that absorb particles when exposed to light, it will also glow in the dark!

The Shoprite Group is the first South African retailer to pilot a heavy-duty electric truck. The electric Scania truck has no reliance on fossil fuels and emits no carbon dioxide. The refrigerated truck can hold about 16 pallets. One electric motor provides 230kW of power and its 300kWh battery helps provide a range of up to 250 km on a single charge. The Shoprite truck, used for local deliveries, was put into service at the end of 2022. It has solar panels fitted to the roof but doesn’t charge solely via solar. However, it tops up in about 90 minutes via a 130kW charger, using renewable energy generated by Shoprite’s existing solar installations. A fully electric cooling system is also powered by the vehicle’s battery packs.  

The truck’s special “glow in the dark” signage will make it visible when travelling at night. When exposed to bright daylight, the signage can absorb and store particles. This stored energy is again emitted when its dark, resulting in a glow.

A great alternative to combustion engines

Electric trucks hold the potential to reinvigorate South Africa’s transport industry. “Electrification marks a new era for the transport industry,” explains Mark Templeton, Sustainability Manager, Scania South Africa. “Scania has passed a number of milestones on our electrification road map, and we are confident we can offer our customers a credible alternative to vehicles with internal combustion engines.”

Shoprite’s fleet currently includes over 900 trucks and 1,360 trailers, of which the majority are fitted with solar panels which enable the refrigeration and tailgate lift to continue to run on solar power even when the truck is switched off. The addition of the new electric truck forms part of Shoprite Group’s efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its supply chain. “We place significant focus on reducing its environmental impact across our operations. One of the ways we’re doing this is by increasing the energy efficiency of our truck fleet. The acquisition of this, one of the world’s most advanced electric trucks, which we will charge using our existing renewable energy infrastructure, is another major move in this direction," says Andrew Havinga, Chief Supply Chain Officer Shoprite Group.

The market is ready

Scania’s electric truck presence in South Africa means this market is ready to take on these kinds of vehicles. The truck itself is actually just one small part of everything else that needs to be in place to be sales-ready for selling E-Truck solutions. “We’re focusing on the mindset that it’s a big new ecosystem and the truck is but one part of it. Actually, the truck is not really the hard thing to implement - it’s everything else connected to the truck,” explains Darren Brown, Market Exploration Manager for Scania’s E-Truck Solution Sales Readiness team.


Just like in South Africa, the market conditions need to be right, and training sales teams and helping them prepare their service workshops for maintaining customers’ electric vehicles in place. And the workshops are using EU standards because in some countries the regulations don’t yet exist. “We’re really taking on this role as a solutions provider rather than an original equipment manufacturer, because ultimately, we want to help the customers through the journey rather than just deliver an electric truck and not help them with the rest of their electrified transport system.”