Waitrose to trial electric vans with wireless charging

Waitrose is set to trial a new range of fully electric vans equipped with wireless charging technology.

The vans are set to make deliveries from Waitrose’s store in St Katherine’s Dock, London within the coming months and the fleet is expected to be expanded in the future according to the supermarket.

The vehicles, which can be charged overnight, have a slim charging pad on their underside and their batteries are charged when they are parked above a suitable electric plate.

Waitrose is working with London-based electric vehicle technology start-up Flexible Power Systems on the trial.

The new deployment builds on an Edinburgh-based project with City of Edinburgh Council and Heriot-Watt University, which was funded by the UK Government’s Office for Low-Emission Vehicles via its innovation agency Innovate UK.

Waitrose said the move comes as part of its plans to end the use of fossil fuels across its entire fleet of vehicles by 2030.

The supermarket said it will have made all its cars, vans, and light trucks electric by 2030.

However, Waitrose will use biomethane in use cases where it says going fully electric is not possible, such as heavy distance trucks.

“Before the pandemic, we were taking 60,000 orders a week - we’re now doing well over 200,000 orders,” said Marija Rompani, director of ethics and sustainability at the John Lewis Partnership. “That uplift in demand for grocery deliveries means that prioritising an electric fleet is more important than ever, particularly as world leaders meet at COP26 to discuss how we lower global emissions.”

“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 per cent. We continue to look for new innovative ways to cut our emissions even further, as well as bring in the latest technology.”

She added: “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.”

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