Waitrose is to become the first supermarket in the UK to trial electric vans equipped with wireless charging technology.
As part of a pilot scheme which will begin in the New Year, Waitrose will deliver groceries from its St Katharine’s Dock store in London to customers using the vehicles.
Wireless vans are fitted with a slim charging pad on the underside and top up by parking above an electric plate, exactly like flat charging plates for mobile phones.
They can also be plugged in to charge overnight.
The technology is being installed by EV technology specialist Flexible Power Systems, which will also equip the store with a cloud based smart charging system designed for home delivery.
By 2030 Waitrose says it will have electrified all cars, vans and light trucks in its fleet, and for sectors where that is not currently possible, such as long distance heavy trucks, it will use biomethane.
According to the firm it will have 340 biomethane trucks in the next few months, and by 2028 all of its 600 heavy trucks will be running on biomethane.
Marija Rompani, director of Ethics & Sustainability at the John Lewis Partnership, said, “We’ve already committed to electric vans and have created a new biomethane gas filling station too, which is helping to reduce CO2 emissions by 80%.
“Being the first to trial this new wireless charging technology is both exciting and another example of our ambition to show leadership in this space.”
Managing director of Flexible Power Systems Michael Ayres added, “This project is about testing technologies that can save time and cost, particularly wireless charging, which has the potential to save time spent charging between deliveries to make the process more efficient and convenient for customers, as well as retailers.”