Tevva Motors talks growth plans and ‘inevitable’ electrification of urban CVs
Tevva Motors has gone from strength to strength since its launch in Brentwood, Essex in September 2013: indeed, last year saw the tech firm accompany former prime minister Theresa May on a trade visit to China; attract investment of £10m from Indian metals business Bharat Forge to boost its global expansion plans; and see parcels giant UPS announce it was using Tevva’s technology across its Birmingham and Southampton fleets.
Ahead of the firm’s appearance at London’s Freight in the City Expo on 6 November, our sister title Motor Transport caught up with sales and marketing director David Thackray to find out what's next in Tevva's growth plans.
With several successful trials under your belt, and the major UPS order revealed last month, will 2020 be the year we see Tevva becoming a familiar sight in UK cities?
Yes, we’ll have increasing numbers of vehicles deployed in the UK from Q2 and, more than that, our technology will be a familiar sight in a number of European locations, beginning in Amsterdam in Q3.
What has been the driving force behind Tevva’s success?
The development of an exceptionally well-engineered vehicle that is focused on safety, quality and durability - and one that truly delivers on total cost of ownership (TCO) – ie, it achieves at least parity with diesel, but more often than not exceeds diesel when it comes to TCO and driving experience.
Have attitudes to electric trucks changed since Tevva’s launch in 2013?
Unquestionably. Back then, the question was ‘if’ – that is, can e-trucks displace diesel? Now, that question has become ‘when’ – the electrification of the commercial vehicle market now seems inevitable and the question now is how quickly will it happen. The answer to that question is ‘sooner than most people believe’. Which means that those businesses and fleet managers who aren’t yet climbing on board are likely to get left behind.
What do you perceive as the main barriers to electric trucks moving into the mainstream, and how is Tevva helping to address these?
There remains some education to be done – mostly amongst the smaller fleets. I think the bigger operators already see the benefits and opportunities.
But the biggest challenge is simply one of getting the supply of product to the scale required to meet the challenge of climate change.
In the logistics world, the issue of charging infrastructure is less difficult; for sure it’s a job of work, but it is just work, like building a new warehouse is work rather than something complicated that needs major changes in public policy.
The hard part in all this is getting production from hundreds to thousands to tens of thousands in a very few years.
How many trucks are on order to date and what are your growth predictions for the next few years?
By the middle of 2020, our trucks will be in service with 20 to 30 different fleets, including many of the largest in Europe.
So tell us more about the technology. Which size trucks are suitable for Tevva’s range-extender?
Right now, 7.5t to 14t GVW – in time, it is possible that heavier options will be offered, and we are looking at alternative range extender options.
Which type of operations are most suited to range-extenders?
Almost all. Any electric truck delivers better TCO as the total mileage increases.
Tevva’s range extender enables that increased mileage and makes the e-truck a fully all-purpose truck, not a specialist truck; moreover, it eliminates range anxiety, which is another of the key challenges we come up against when talking to businesses.
The whole point of the range extender is for the operators to choose a battery size that fits their duty cycles, and then use 100% of that battery every day.
Are range-extended trucks affordable for SMEs?
Yes, and to prove it we are already supplying some SMEs, partnering with Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions to provide these vehicles on a lease basis in order to allow customers to adopt these without risk.
Can operators trial or rent a Tevva truck for a period of time to test suitability in their business?
Yes, and we will be making a major announcement on this topic at Freight in the City on 6 November. Interested operators need to contact me urgently. We are already becoming over-subscribed.
Why should people come to see Tevva at FiTC and what will you be talking about?
Firstly, we will be bringing two of our most up-to-date vehicles for people to view and we’ll be able to talk to anyone who’s interested and explain how our technology works.
But we’ll also be using the event to make a major announcement that we hope will swiftly convince more logistics business operations that e-trucks are the way to go, not in the future but now.
The technology is real, it’s available and it is proven in real-world trials and in-service vehicles that we have on the roads today.
- Tevva's David Thackray will be taking part in this year's Freight in the City Expo on 6 November in London, both in a lively panel debate about the pace of technology change to meet city regulations, as well as a quick-fire 'Tech Talk' to give you a flavour of how range-extenders work in real-life operations. The expo is free to attend and not only brings together a full day's conference programme for delegates, but also provides an exciting exhibition of the latest urban logistics vehicles under one roof, from last-mile cargo bikes through to electric trucks and biomethane-powered refuse lorries. Register free here.
2016 Mercedes-Benz Actros 2545LS 6x2 StreamSpace - Used Truck of the Day
This Euro-6, 2016 Mercedes-Benz Actros 2545LS 6x2 StreamSpace is our used deal of the day from Avonmouth-based City West Commercials.
Registered as a 66-plate, this white example has only completed 235,350km. Predictive Powertrain Control is included, as well as single pipe tipping gear.
Inside there’s a fridge, radio and CD player, and a double bunk. External features include lightweight alloy fuel tanks, lead-up ramps and a sliding fifth gear.
Priced at £54,995, this vehicle comes with a year’s driveline warranty.