England-based grocer Sainsbury’s has ordered 50 Smith Electric Vehicle vans for its online grocery delivery fleet. Once the vans go into service in March, Sainsbury’s will have the largest electric delivery fleet in the world, totaling 70 vehicles in all, according to Smith Electric.
“We are absolutely committed to using zero emissions vehicles where possible as they help keep inner city air clean,” said Neil Sachdev, Sainsbury’s commercial director. “Also, the electricity used to power them generates around 50% less CO2 than diesel vans.”
Sachdev estimates the 3.5-ton vans will save 155 tons of CO2 each year. The purchase of the vans follows the installation of electric recharge points at Sainsbury’s London stores. Situated at ten stores in the city, customers can charge their electric vehicles free of charge while they shop, Sainsbury’s said.
The vans, deployed at ten stores, will allow delivery to 60% of central London. Each van has been modified to meet Sainsbury’s specs, including restricting speed to 40 mph. With a range of 60 mi. per day, the vehicles should easily handle the daily grind, the company said.
London mayor Boris Johnson has been pushing for the city to be ahead of the curve when it comes to electric vehicles and sees this decision by Sainsbury’s as furthering that goal.
“I am determined to put London at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution as they become a mainstream choice,” he said. “This is cracking news from Sainsbury’s which will help deliver to Londoners not only their groceries, but all the benefits of going electric such as cleaner air and fewer carbon emissions. It shows that a commitment to this technology even in leaner times, is good for businesses and great for our environment.”
Each vehicle is equipped with a fast charging system and also uses regenerative braking, which recaptures energy normally lost during braking and uses that energy to help recharge the batteries.
“Sainsbury’s was one of the first companies to recognize the benefits our technology brings to urban and suburban delivery fleets,” said Darren Kell, CEO of Smith parent The Tanfield Group. “When these additional 50 vehicles are deployed, we believe that Sainsbury's will have the largest electric van fleet in the world.”