Retail partnership aims end the use of fossil fuels across its entire fleet by 2030
The John Lewis Partnership has pledged to end the use of fossil fuel vehicles across its entire transport fleet within the next decade by ramping up its use of electric vans to serve its growing online food and goods delivery business, the retail group announced today.
With the online business of both John Lews and Waitrose having grown significantly during the pandemic due to lockdown restrictions on physical shopping, the retailer plan to begin rolling out the first of thousanes of new electric delivery vans next year.
As many as 1,300 new John Lewis and Waitrose electric vans are set to hit the roads in 2021, accompanied by a major increase in the number of electric vehicle charging points in its shop car parks, the retailer added.
The new electric vans are set to come in two designs, a larger model for online Waitrose food deliveries and a smaller version for John Lewis deliveries, the the firm estimating the rollout across its fleet could save more than 20,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.
The firm did not dislose the developer it is working with to develop the new fleet, although it recently partnered with London-based technology firm Arrival to trial smart home delivery vans.
The commitment comes in the retailer's latest Ethics & Sustainability Progress Report published this morning, and follows its previously announced plan to build a dedicated biomethane gas filling station to provide a low carbon alternative to diesel for its heavy goods vehicles. John Lewis estimates each biomethane truck will save 100 tonnes of CO2 per year, cutting emissions by 80 per cent compared to diesel trucks.
"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 and 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."
Elewhere, meanwhile, further progress in the rollout of EV charging infrastructure was also announced by electricity distribution network operator Western Power Distribution (WPD) today, which has chosen the site for its trial of technology it hopes could deliver more than 200,000 electric vehicle chargers across its license area by 2023.
The £5.6m DC Share project will take place in Taunton, Somerset, said the firm, which looks after power distribution for the Midlands, South West England and South Wales. Led by consultancy Ricardo Energy and Environment, the pilot involves testing a new method of pooling spare network capacity from several local substations, enabling low carbon infrastructure - such as rapid EV chargers and battery energy storage - to be quickly connected without the need for expensive network reinforcement, it explained.
WPD said it hopes the new trial will help drive progress towards its ultimate goal of getting more than three million electric vehicles (EVs) on the roads by 2023.
Users of the rapid EV chargers in the pilot are to be handed 12 months of free charging to further encourage public uptake of low carbon vehicles, WPD said. It claimed that, if expanded across other UK electricity networks, the new technology could save customers an estimated £162m in network reinforcement costs by 2050, by allowing network providers to harness spare capacity within existing substations rather than investing millions in new infrastructure. This is particularly important in dense urban areas, where space constraints making installing extensive new infrastructure costly and time-consuming, it said.
"Today's confirmation of Taunton as the DC Share project site is an important step to securing the massive savings and decarbonisation benefits that DC meshing technology could bring to the UK," said Ricky Duke, a low carbon network engineer at WPD. "DC Share is a win-win: this technology will allow us to rapidly decarbonise transport by making smarter use of existing infrastructure. That means less carbon emissions, while reducing the need for expensive infrastructure and network reinforcements in constrained urban communities."
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