Waitrose is aiming to electrify its delivery fleet and will start trialling two new designs from UK e-mobility firm Arrival early next year.
Waitrose and parent the John Lewis Partnership have committed to remove fossil fuels from their combined fleet within a decade.
The Partnership is already running a fleet of biogas lorries, though thinks an overhead power network across motorways – called a catenary system – may ultimately be required to decarbonise HGVs.
Green credentials could ultimately set Waitrose apart at the higher end of an increasingly competitive online grocery market.
From September, its products will no longer be delivered by Ocado, which will instead switch to M&S. Meanwhile, Amazon is set to enter the UK grocery market in earnest. Its overseas operations have traditionally competed at the higher end rather than against the discounters.
Cheaper to run and with greater capacity and an anticipated longer design life, electric vans could therefore prove instrumental in countering margin squeeze.
“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,” said Justin Laney, partner & general manager of Central Transport at the John Lewis Partnership. “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.”
If the trials with Arrival go well, the intention is to us the vans for smaller John Lewis deliveries as well as food via Waitrose.com, which the Partnership calculates will save more than 20,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.
For a full breakdown of the John Lewis Partnership’s strategy – and in depth interviews with other fleet operators, energy firms, charging networks and technology companies, including Arrival – download the Energyst’s new 2020 EV report here.