Written by Sebastian Blanco
Einride’s vision of a world with more electric and autonomous transportation options remains on course. Despite the coronavirus situation that’s affecting people around the world, the company announced an expansion of its partnership with the German grocery store chain Lidl today.
The deal will see Einride provide some of its electric delivery trucks to Lidl later this year as part of the grocery giant’s plan to transition to a fully zero-emission transport network. This plan includes outfitting Lidl stores with solar panels, making some of them zero waste and, since March 2018, using nothing but renewable energy across the company.
That makes the Einride project just the latest in a series of steps to make getting groceries easier on the environment. While Einride is running some trials of its Autonomous Electric Transports (AETs) – large delivery vans that can drive themselves and, when needed, allow a remote operator to jump in and solve any difficult situation the self-driving vehicle finds itself in – the Lidl project is focused on Einride’s Freight Mobility Platform (FMP). This platform “collects transport data and automatically optimizes routes and schedules while providing detailed plans for how to introduce electric transport into the fleet. It also serves as a digital interface to interact and communicate with Einride’s driverless vehicles,” Einride said in a statement.
To start, Einride and Lidl will run the FMP in and around Stockholm, and the electric vehicles will begin running there in the fall. The plan is to increase the use of Einride’s EVs in other parts of Sweden, then expand to other parts of Europe and then to the U.S. Lidl said that it expects the majority of its transport will happen with Einride electric vehicles by 2025. The two companies first started working together in 2017.
Those big plans mean that even during a time of crisis, the project is moving forward. Einride’s CEO Robert Falck told me that even though the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has certainly had an effect on his company’s plans – and those of countless other businesses – “we are still planning to commence operations with this partnership in the fall and will be sharing more information on our digital and electric solutions in the coming months.”
Falck said that Einride is of course being careful, and it’s found Sweden to be a good place to be operating right now. “Sweden’s approach to this pandemic – keeping the economy open – has proven relatively successful thus far, and we are following the recommendations of the Swedish government and adjusting our own projections accordingly,” he said.
Click here to view source.