Tarmac and DE Plant reveal world first EV

Tarmac is supporting National Highways' transition to net zero by bringing an electrically powered bond coat sprayer to roads – thought to be the first vehicle of its kind in the world. 

Tarmac supplier and highways equipment specialist, DE Plant, part of the Thriplow Group, developed the all-electric vehicle and the next generation technology, which could replace its diesel-powered counterparts, offers huge carbon savings alongside on-site safety benefits. 

The sprayer offers embodied carbon savings of 1.12kg /km compared to traditional diesel sprayers.

Bond coat sprayers are used country-wide to distribute a thin layer of heated bitumen, sprayed between layers of asphalt, to bind them together when laying a road. 

As part of the project, a collaboration with BituChem resulted in the development of a new bond coat bitumen product, which can be used without the need to be heated, unlike traditional bitumen, conserving energy and removing the need for hot material on site.

Phil Greenin, framework delivery manager at Tarmac, said the development was in line with the organisation’s ambitious sustainability goals, to be at the forefront of implementing low CO2 transport and logistics solutions across the highways and construction industries.  

“Playing a part in the delivery of the world’s first electric bond coat sprayer has been incredibly exciting for the team, and further demonstrates our commitment to supporting the delivery of net zero targets,” he said.

Scott Emmett, founder and CEO of Thriplow Group, said the firm has prided itself over the years in setting the standards for bond coat sprayers - and running a fleet of the newest, most technical and safest vehicles in the market “still wasn't enough for us”. 

“We are proud to have been able to work with our long-term partner Tarmac and National Highways to be able to bring this project to market,” he adds. 

“Being the world’s first all-electric bond coat sprayer demonstrates how a collaborative approach can really work to change the operation, when others said it couldn't be done.”

Tarmac and DE Plant partnered with Volvo and Schäfer-technic to develop the all-electric, zero-emission sprayer, which was used for the first time on the A120 in Essex. 

Once fully operational, the sprayer is set to service the area surrounding the M25 and help contractors to cut carbon emissions on road surfacing projects across East Anglia and the South East.

Steve Elderkin, director of environmental sustainability at National Highways said reaching net zero highways required big thinking, ongoing innovation and the continued development of low-carbon technology and materials.  

“The environmental challenges we face can only be achieved by working together,” he said. 

“It’s great to see Tarmac and DE Plant doing that – an example of partnership working within the field resulting in a new technique being introduced on our road network.

“I look forward to further collaboration working with our supply chain partners and stakeholders to achieve our environmental commitments."

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