Unraveling the Tech & Innovation Behind GoBolt’s Sustainable Logistics Operation

GoBolt has embarked on a journey of technological innovation to shape the future of logistics.  

In part two of our conversation, cofounders Mark Ang (CEO) and Heindrik Bernabe (CTO), alongside Senior VP of Commercial, Jarrett Stewart, dive into GoBolt’s strategic focus and the crucial role technology plays in powering GoBolt’s operations toward environmental excellence. Pioneers in sustainable third-party logistics (3PL) practices, the trio shares the challenges and triumphs they’ve experienced on the journey to making EVs the supply-chain standard. 

Below they discuss GoBolt’s tech-infused mission to revolutionize logistics sustainably: 

In case you missed it, in our first conversation, Mark laid out GoBolt’s origins, transformation, and sustainable initiatives. 

Hendrik, can you dive deeper into the technology powering GoBolt? And how you’re leveraging technology and innovation to enhance supply chain sustainability? 

Heindrik: We’re essentially building technology today to navigate around the limitations of EVs and its infrastructure with the hopes we’ll become the standard operating system of the future. 

We’re really the first 3PL navigating this terrain. This comes with its challenges. There are limitations with EVs, but we are trying to take a massive step forward to push these vehicles and make them the standard for the supply chain of the future. And it all comes down to how we manage our EVs, how we train drivers, and how we optimize our delivery routes

Considering the complexities of EVs, can you share insights into the lessons learned during GoBolt’s EV rollout, especially the challenges faced and adjustments made?

Mark: EVs are really unique beasts. They are temperamental to inclement weather. They have to be routed differently. Driver behavior and training is completely different. Even vehicle licensing requirements can differ depending on payload. There are so many facets to consider.  

When talking to others about EV adoption, I always recount the story of how our two-truck budget skyrocketed in the first couple months of our rollout. We went from spending zero to tens of thousands a month on tow trucks because our EVs wouldn’t hold a charge. They couldn’t finish their routes. It’s not something we anticipated, but it’s something we quickly adjusted for. 

How has GoBolt overcome these challenges? 

Heindrik: We had to rethink our entire operation, not just the new vehicles. We’ve had to think about our infrastructure and our technology. Now, all of the software we’re building is aimed at navigating around the limitations of EVs and its infrastructure. 

As the alpha testers in the market, we’ve had to build software that maximizes the limitations of EVs to make sure they operate successfully. So, we’ve built, and continue to improve, software that manages electric vehicle deliveries and routing in order to maximize its limitations today. One example of a practical EV software build is how our app helps drivers understand the anticipated number of deliveries they can complete on their current charge and will point them to the closest charging stations when needed. 

If you could go back and give yourself any advice when GoBolt was first starting out on its EV adoption journey what would it be?

Heindrik: It’s simple: EVs and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles aren’t the same. 

Yes, they both have four wheels. Yes, they have some sort of propellant for their engines. But they are not the same thing. And if you treat them like they are, you are doomed to fail. 

I wish I could tell myself not to compare the two. I’d tell myself to think bigger when it comes to EVs. Think about the infrastructure, think about the vehicle, think about the driver, and then build around that.

Taking a moment to reflect on the challenges GoBolt has faced with EVs, has it been worth it? 

Mark: Yes. This hasn’t been an easy journey, but it’s an important one and one that we feel we are paying dividends into, and eventually we’ll be able to pull those out. We are really excited about the societal and environmental impacts we’re making. And we’ve been able to build some strong, game-changing technology that can help advance the adoption of EVs. One day, we hope to offer our operating system so others can adopt EVs in a better, faster, and cheaper way. 

Jarrett, what KPIs does GoBolt use to measure the success of its sustainability efforts? 

Jarrett: When starting out on this sustainability journey, we knew it was going to be a long road until we were able to fully electrifying our fleet, or even come close. With any long-term project, you need clear KPIs to track your progression. So, for this task, we landed on three KPIs. 

The first measurement we track is the percentage of deliveries we are actually conducting via EVs. We measure this KPI on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis. 

The second metric we track is the emissions we’ve avoided or what we haven’t generated thanks to our EV deliveries. This is typically the hardest one to measure. We worked with an amazing external partner to build a carbon calculator that’s aligned to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol which allows us to measure our actual carbon emissions and the emissions we’ve avoided. 

Our third metric tracks the emissions we’ve sequestered. We know for a number of years, there are going to be deliveries that we simply cannot complete with an EV. But we like to put our money where our mouth is when we say we’re going to electrify our last mile deliveries. So, we actually pay to plant trees through a verified program partnership with veritree to sequester the emissions we can’t avoid. 

Let’s take this a step further. Could you elaborate on the notable achievements and metrics that showcase the success of GoBolt’s sustainability initiatives?

Jarrett: To date, we’ve completed nearly 250,000 deliveries via EVs and in Q4 of 2023, we hovered around 20% of all our deliveries being conducted via EV. When we share these metrics, people often wonder about the size of our fleet, so being able to actually quantify the amount of EV deliveries to a quarter million gives you an idea of our scale and how we’ve progressed on our sustainability journey. Lastly, we’ve also helped avoid over 100 tons of CO2 to date.

That’s incredible. How does it feel to have made this much headway?

Heindrik: It always feels good when you make an impact, but there’s more to do. I’m very excited for the future, and that’s where I’m looking. 

Mark: That’s one of the things that makes GoBolt a unique business. We’re constantly focused on what’s ahead of us versus what’s behind. I think it does two things. One, it probably causes us to overlook some of our better achievements, but it also keeps us fixated on the broader mission, which is that we want to be more impactful. We want 100% electrification across our entire network in way more markets than we are today. We’re super impressed and proud of what our team has been able to accomplish, but I’m personally very excited about what’s still to come because we’re very much still at the start of this journey.

Beyond the numbers, our conversation with Heindrik, Mark, and Jarrett has unveiled a journey rooted in authenticity and a collective drive for change. The road ahead for GoBolt is marked by continuous improvement and the company’s unwavering pursuit of sustainable logistics.