10 fast facts about Milk-E 


More than 100 years ago, Fonterra’s Waitoa site had New Zealand’s largest fleet of electric milk trucks. Fast-forward to 2022, the site has welcomed New Zealand’s first modern electric milk tanker. 

With road transport being one the fastest growing source of emissions, the Co-op sees this as an opportunity to help the country identify and deliver lower carbon transport solutions.  

The new E-tanker is one part of Fonterra’s overall fleet decarbonisation strategy, and is very much a trial for the Co-op to learn more about heavy vehicle E-Transport in a rural setting. 

Fonterra Chief Operating Officer, Fraser Whineray, says improving emissions across the entire supply chain is part of Fonterra’s overall commitment to sustainability.

“The global technology investment in sustainable land, air and sea transport is phenomenal. Our teams are constantly screening the possibilities to see what could work across our supply chain”

Still curious? Here’s 10 facts about the new E-tanker...

1. What is its name?

Following a fierce but friendly ‘Name the E-tanker’ competition, she was named Milk-E by Fonterra farmer Stephen Todd from Murchison.

2. How big is it?

It’s about the same size as a regular tanker. For those of you who want the more technical details – it will operate at 46T GVM (gross vehicle mass) with the trailer.

3. How far can it go?
It has a range of about 140km on a full charge (but we are still testing this).

4. What brand is it?

The cab and chassis are from XCMG – a Chinese construction machinery group. The team have fit the ‘tank’ part of the tanker to it, which is the same as Fonterra’s regular tankers.

5. Is this the first of its kind?

With regards to a fully electric milk tanker in New Zealand, yes. As for in the world, we can’t be sure yet, we’re still checking that out.

6. How much milk will it carry?

The tank is the same size as on our regular tanker with the capacity to carry 28,000 litres. However, because the ‘truck’ part of the tanker is a bit heavier with the battery it carries around 2,300 litres of milk less. This is so we can operate within our permitted weight. 

7. How long does it take to charge?

It takes about three hours to charge, and we will be operating it on a battery swap system so we won’t have to have it lying idle while charging. 
The team will be able to swap the battery out in about six minutes. 

8. What will you be looking at during the trial?

We’ll be looking at a number of factors including; how far it can go, how easy it is to charge, milk collection, maintenance, efficiency, cost, and driver comfort and safety. 

9. Where will it be based?

Our Waitoa plant. This is because Waitoa has lots of close supplying farms on relatively flat land, so we can do shorter runs where we can reduce battery consumption with less hills. 

Since Waitoa was home to the biggest fleet of electric milk trucks, it is also fitting that in New Zealand it becomes home to the first modern milk collection electric tanker in New Zealand. 

10. Has Milk-E been on-farm yet?

Yes!. During Milk-E’s first run she collected milk from four different farms in the Springdale area, which added up to be around 60kms for the round trip

  • She collected 22,668 litres of milk (her maximum capacity is 26,275 litres)
  • Only 26% of her battery was used for the roundtrip! 

Milk-E on Anthony and Kerrie Pollock ‘s farm – the second of the run.