Waitrose and John Lewis switch to e-van deliveries

Waitrose and John Lewis have announced plans to significantly increase the use of electric vans to help fulfil ambitions of ending the use of fossil fuels across their entire transport fleet by 2030.

The John Lewis Partnership will use two new designs of vehicle for its Waitrose.com food deliveries and for smaller John Lewis deliveries, saving over 20,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.

The electric vans follow the retailer’s recent announcement that it is building a dedicated biomethane gas filling station to enable its largest heavy goods vehicles to use a low-carbon alternative to diesel. This will reduce CO2 emissions by 80 per cent, with each truck saving over 100 tonnes of CO2 every year.

Highlighted in the retailer’s Ethics and Sustainability Progress Report, published today, the electric vans will be trialled early next year.

In addition to producing fewer pollutants, the 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.

Justin Laney, general manager of central transport at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “As our online services rapidly expand, we’re working hard to meet our goal of operating a zero fossil fuel in the next 10 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.”

The Waitrose website has been growing significantly in preparation for being the only place for customers to buy the grocer's 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 a quarter of Waitrose.com orders to vulnerable and elderly customers.

The Waitrose Rapid service has also trebled its deliveries to 7,000 per week, with at least 40 per cent of the slots reserved for vulnerable customers.

The partnership’s new report also detailed a commitment to increasing the number of electric vehicle charging points for customers and partnership vans in its shop car parks.

In March 2019, the employee-owned business pledged to be net zero carbon across its entire operations by 2050 at the latest.

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