The move follows an extensive two-year trial of the electric vehicle technology and Sainsbury’s is hoping to save 45 tonnes of CO2 emissions in the first year of operation using nine electric vehicles, which come in Ford Transit shells.
Simon Skeet, operations manager for Sainsbury’s Online, said: ‘Our fleet will start small but in the very near future all our delivery vans operating in high areas of delivery density, such as towns and cities, will be battery-powered.
‘Thorough testing during the trial has given us an insight into the vehicle’s capabilities and has demonstrated that with the right technology we can potentially take hundreds of conventional delivery vans out of our urban fleet.’
Sainsbury’s became the first major UK retailer to use battery power for home shopping delivery, after signing a deal with Europe’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer last year.
The group initially bought the Faraday zero-emission, battery- powered delivery truck from Smith Electric Vehicles and used it in a home shopping delivery trial in London (Fleet News, June 13, 2006).
The initiative is part of Sainsbury’s bid to offer a greener service. Van delivery drivers will take away plastic carrier bags for recycling and use satellite-navigation systems to ensure the most efficient routes are taken.
Darren Kell, chief executive of Smith Electric Vehicles, added: ‘We have worked closely with Sainsbury’s to ensure we delivered a zero-emission vehicle that actually outperforms the diesel equivalent in urban areas.’