Waitrose has become the first supermarket to trial a “new generation” of electric vehicles across London this week.
The move comes in response to surging demand for Waitrose delivery services, alongside the retailer’s commitment to end the use of fossil fuels in its transport fleet by 2030.
The grocer reported that delivery orders before the pandemic stood at approximately 60,000 each week.
The figure has since spiked to 200,000 orders every week, leading the supermarket to invest in “cutting-edge” electric vehicles to meet demand while reducing its carbon emissions.
According to the retailer, groceries from its St. Katherine’s Dock store will be dropped off to customers by electric vans equipped with wireless charging technology.
The vans are reportedly fitted with a slim charging pad on the underside and can be charged by parking above an electric plate, or they can be plugged in to charge overnight.
The new wave of green technology has been installed by EV technology experts Flexible Power Systems, which has also equipped the store with a cloud-based smart charging system for home delivery.
The supermarket estimates that the transition to a 100 per cent green energy transport fleet will save approximately 70,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
It aims to electrify most of its cars, light trucks and vans, and use biomethane for all 600 of its heavy trucks by 2028.
“[The] uplift in demand for grocery deliveries means that prioritising an electric fleet is more important than ever,” Waitrose director of ethics and sustainability Marija Rompani said.
“We continue to look for new innovative ways to cut our emissions even further, as well as bring in the latest technology.
Flexible Power Systems managing director Michael Ayres added: “This project is about testing technologies that can save time and cost, particularly wireless charging.
“Companies like Waitrose have to electrify their fleets to combat climate change and at the same time … fulfill customers’ needs as efficiently as possible.
“[It] had the potential to … make the process more efficient and convenient for customers, as well as retailers.”