Asahi UK – 2023

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Asahi UK – 2023

Asahi’s Draught Technical Services Team cover thousands of miles every year visiting pubs, bars and restaurants to make sure their beer dispense systems are operating as efficiently as possible. But while they’ve been supporting energy efficiency for customers, the team were concerned at the carbon footprint of their own vans, especially with Asahi having committed to cutting their scope 3 emissions by 30% by 2030 and achieving NetZero by 2050.

With some of their vehicles up for replacement, the team set themselves the challenge of reviewing the low-emissions options available. Their objective was combine investment in new technologies with innovation in operational behaviours in order to reduce their energy consumption. In addition, they wanted to prove that this was possible without impacting on customer, supplier or colleague experience throughout the value chain, within the existing EV charging infrastructure.

They identified that fuel efficiency would have to be achieved without compromising on customer servicing when scheduling charging stops might be tricky. Their suggested solution was to phase out petrol and diesel vans in favour of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), in this case vans, with an electric-only range of around 30 miles each. With service covering large areas, and often remote communities, a fully EV solution was determined by the team to be unsuitable for maintaining supply and high customer experience alongside low environmental impact.

The Draught Technical Services team have now taken delivery of the final PHEV vans to complete the transformation of their 10-vehicle their fleet, and are in the implementation phase of their trial where they have set their own detailed targets for the proportion of their mileage which is to be achieved using solely electric propulsion. In an average year, the DTS team as a whole will cover 200k miles, generating a carbon output of around 67 tonnes per year. As a result of the switch to PHEV petrol vehicles, the estimated annual carbon output of the team should now be 22 tonnes, cutting emissions by two thirds. And with behaviour change designed to complete 25% of all miles using the electric capability of the vehicles, it’s hoped to drive this even lower.

The project is currently in the implementation phase, and the PHEV vehicles have been in use for 3 months. During that time, the team have been actively measuring both the reduction of diesel fuel usage, and the number of miles covered on EV capability. They have also been engaging with Ford to improve the telemetry systems within the vehicle to help improve the detailed data available on EV vs petrol usage – Not only to support their initial pilot, but to ensure other companies can benefit from the pilot to trial similar initiatives.

The team have also been documenting the less-anticipated ways in which the pilot has changed their daily routines, such as identifying customers with charging points, and planning routes accordingly to maximise value of visits – which has also started some great conversations around charging infrastructure provision.

By choosing PHEVs, the team were able to demonstrate:

• Achieving carbon savings is still possible with existing technologies, and no additional investment in infrastructure.
• They can deliver carbon savings consistently over the useful life of the vehicles.
• The combined impact of both behaviour change and technological change, with data and learnings for the broader field sales workforce and other businesses (through engagement with Ford).

By using the data and experiences gained from maximising the EV capability of their PHEV vehicles, it’s hoped that this project will make a fully-EV solution from 2030 a much simpler target to reach. Taking Asahi one step closer to their target of NetZero by 2050.

Looking at Distribution

Looking beyond the DTS team Asahi also have a fleet of trucks for the delivery of the beer itself. The technical and load requirements for these larger vehicles and the infrastructure requirements in the UK mean that they are not yet in a position to follow suit with the DTS team however steps are being taken to drive down emissions as quickly as possible.

This includes introduction of telemetric technology that provides detailed data allowing greater route efficiencies to be identified as well has providing learnings for drivers to help improve the efficiency of their driving.

Whilst keeping a keen eye on EV and hydrogen development, stop gap alternatives are being considered such as sustainably sourced HVO biofuel to directly replace diesel. Not only would this cut GHG emissions but it would help reduce air pollution in urban areas.

With EV being the primary aim for the sustainable transition of distribution in the UK it is clear that the public sector is now moving at pace and the main barrier that business expect to face is a lack of infrastructure to support the necessary uptake of EVs. If business are to hit their emissions objectives in this area greater and faster investment is needed from government to make UK infrastructure fit for large scale EV uptake.