Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Major UK Retailers Confirm They are Opting for an Electric Switch

Food and Furniture Chains Follow Through on Commitment
Shipping News Feature

UK – Last month we detailed how the Waitrose and John Lewis brands were building a dedicated biomethane gas filling station to enable the employee-owned partnership's largest heavy goods vehicles to use an alternative to diesel. However as well as the trucks which deliver the bulk of goods to distribution centres, the two have a fleet of smaller vehicles for last mile deliveries and now plans for these have been confirmed.

Whilst each of the HGVs will reduce its CO2 emissions by 80%, a saving of 100 tonnes of the gas per vehicle, the John Lewis Partnership will now use two new designs of electric vehicle for its food deliveries and for smaller John Lewis deliveries, saving over 20,000 tonnes of CO2 every year, equivalent to the carbon footprint produced by 2,500 UK households.

As highlighted in the retailer’s Ethics & Sustainability Progress Report, published today, the revolutionary electric vans will be trialled early next year to help fulfil the group’s ambition of ending the use of fossil fuels across its entire transport fleet by 2030. The report also details the retailer’s commitment to increasing the number of electric vehicle charging points for customers and Partnership vans in its shop car parks.

To arrive at the most suitable solution to achieve its goals John Lewis has worked with manufacturers and data scientists to source vehicles that are the most efficient and environmentally responsible. In addition to producing fewer pollutants, the state-of-the-art electric vehicles have greater capacity than their diesel counterparts. In some cases, this means replacing three diesel vans with two electric ones.

Electric vans are also quieter which is important for reducing noise pollution in built-up areas. The vehicle can also be upgraded as technology advances, meaning the electric vans could have a very long life of up to 20 years or more. This is a significant benefit that really adds to the sustainability of the vehicle, prompting Justin Laney, Partner & General Manager of Central Transport at the John Lewis Partnership, to comment:

“As our online services rapidly expand, we’re working hard to meet our goal of operating a zero fossil fuel in the next ten years. Our new electric vans are an ideal solution for home deliveries; the innovative design means they’re more efficient, but also respectful to the environment and the growing number of neighbourhoods in which we deliver.”

Meanwhile has been growing significantly in preparation for being the only place for customers to buy Waitrose products online in September. Since accelerating its online expansion in light of Covid-19, Waitrose has added more than 100,000 customer order slots each week to its service (now more than 160,000 slots each week) and has committed at least 25% of orders to vulnerable and elderly customers, including those on the government lists. now delivers to nearly 90% of postcodes across the country via a network of shops and two (to be three at the end of this year) fulfilment centres in London whilst the Waitrose Rapid service has also trebled its deliveries to 7,000 per week with at least 40% of the slots reserved for vulnerable customers. The service offers up to 25 products for delivery within two hours.

Photo: The John Lewis new look electric van with (inset) the Waitrose livery version.