Amazon has published a new tool to help identify priority locations where electric charging points for heavy goods vehicles should be built and accelerate the move to sustainable transportation in the logistics industry.

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The open-source technology, named CHALET - which stands for Charging Location for Electric Trucks - will help to solve one of the most pressing challenges facing the industry in its efforts to decarbonise. It will allow logistics operators to increase the pace of their transition to sustainable modes of transport, as well as help develop public infrastructure to meet growing demand for electric vehicle charging points.

How the new open-source tool CHALET can be used

The tool can be used by private industry, governments, electricity network operators, and local authorities to generate a list of optimum charging locations, ranked by priority. Taking into account specific factors such as vehicle battery, range, and transit time, CHALET has been developed by Amazon over the last 18 months, and the code is now openly-available so all industry stakeholders can benefit from its use.

“Middle mile electrification in Europe will not scale until efficient and convenient charging infrastructure is put in place,” said Andreas Marschner, Vice President, Amazon Transportation Services. “Our teams have built an effective, science-based tool, and we’re open-sourcing the code to help all companies, big and small, make more strategic electrification decisions.”

What this means for decarbonisation and transportation in the UK

An Amazon electric vehicle charging

Transportation accounts for 24% of the UK's total greenhouse gas emissions and only 1.9% of trucks on UK roads today are low or no-emission. Electrification is one of the most promising opportunities to decarbonise transport emissions, but public electric charging infrastructure is falling behind public and private sector vehicle demands. One of the key challenges to developing public infrastructure is identifying the most effective locations to maximise use across public-private industry, and support the busiest cross-continent logistics routes.

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"Our teams have built an effective, science-based tool, and we’re open-sourcing the code to help all companies, big and small, make more strategic electrification decisions."
Andreas Marschner
Vice President, Amazon Transportation Services

The Sustainable Freight Buyers Alliance (SFBA) is an independent industry alliance of freight buyers dedicated to working with its members and partners to accelerate freight decarbonisation, especially electric truck adoption. The Alliance is using the tool to help create an industry-sourced map of charging infrastructure placement priorities, and calls on industry to participate by using CHALET. The more transportation and logistics providers input their requirements into the tool, the better the map will reflect the industry’s needs. The map will help craft critical recommendations to industry and governments on targeted public charging infrastructure investments.

Rik Arends, Director of the SFBA’s Smart Freight Centre also called on the transport and logistics industry make use of the tool.

“To accelerate the adoption of electric trucks, tools such as CHALET are a crucial element to successfully decarbonise our industry. We’re calling on the industry to provide input to the tool to map the industry’s needs. Identifying locations to install charging infrastructure will play a key role in emissions reduction.”

The parties that will benefit from and use the Amazon decarbonisation tool

The tool is being welcomed by other industry groups such as Eurelectric, who encourage their members to participate. More participation from the industry means the more accurately the map will demonstrate the industry’s real-world needs. All company-specific information is anonymised and kept confidential, and the open-sourced code can be found in GitHub, under the repository name chalet-charging-location-for-electric-trucks.

"To accelerate the adoption of electric trucks, tools such as CHALET are a crucial element to successfully decarbonise our industry."
Rik Arends
Director, Smart Freight Centre

“Logistics UK is calling for a national logistics network that is backed by the energy infrastructure required for all freight transport modes. That’s why we welcome this new technology, and encourage Logistics UK members to use this tool,” said David Wells OBE, Chief Executive of Logistics UK. “CHALET has the potential to enable the right planning and energy decisions by Government, and the investment needed to deliver zero carbon logistics at pace and in the most cost-effective way for logistics customers and the economy. Evidence from this tool should also inform important decisions regarding driver welfare facilities and rest stops.”

What CHALET means for Amazon’s efforts to become net-zero carbon by 2040

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CHALET is the latest development in Amazon’s ongoing electrification efforts, with the company continuing to expand its zero emissions fleet, and support its efforts to become net-zero carbon by 2040. In 2022, Amazon began rolling out its first fully electric 40-ton trucks in Europe and the UK. It also announced plans to invest more than €1 billion over the next five years to further electrify and decarbonise its transportation network across Europe. The investment will more than double the size of Amazon’s European fleet, including more electric heavy goods vehicles, electric delivery vans, and the necessary charging infrastructure to support them.

Amazon also supports the implementation of an ambitious European regulatory framework for decarbonising trucks, including stricter CO2 standards for HGVs , which would raise the CO2 emission reduction targets for new HGV in the EU to at least 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2040. It also supports efforts to catalyse EU-wide electric charging infrastructure. As the first signatory to the Climate Pledge, Amazon has committed to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.

Read more about Amazon’s roll-out of electric delivery vans in Europe.