We wrote about Woolworths South Africa trialing electric vans on some of its delivery routes last year. Now, after a successful 10-month trial, Woolworths has announced that it will be the first South African retailer to embark on an extensive rollout of electric panel vans (EVs) in partnership with DSV and Everlectric to deliver their customers’ online purchases in Gauteng, Cape Town, and Durban. The rollout will result in up to 70% of the retailer’s fleet being powered by electricity, which according to the figures from the trial will have on an annual basis the potential to save 700,000 kg of tailpipe carbon emissions.
Woolworths’ announcement coincided with World Environment Day 2022, which was celebrated yesterday (5 June) with the theme of #OnlyOneEarth. “Last year we announced bold new sustainability goals and ambitions, which included the goal to have ZERO nett carbon emissions by 2040 so we are very much looking forward to being the first retailer in South Africa to embark on such an extensive rollout of electric panel vans to support our growing online business. Over the last three years we have invested over R1 billion in our digital capabilities, providing new and innovative experiences to meet the evolving needs of our customer as well as differentiates our services. This has resulted in us recently reporting an online sales growth of 22.4% with a total contribution of 13.7% to the group’s total turnover,” confirms Liz Hillock, Woolworths Head of Online and Mobile.
“To power the vans, electricity will be sourced as far as possible from renewable sources maximising the opportunity to utilise solar at DSV and additional chargers co-located at strategic Woolworths store locations. We will work closely with DSV and Everlectric to plan, position and negotiate the installation of these charging stations to leverage off existing renewable/ solar installations co-located at the selected malls/ retail locations. Should there be any exception to renewables recharging, DSV and Everlectric will work with an audit firm to procure Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to offset any indirect grid energy emissions,” explains Hillock.
“At Everlectric, we believe that the South African logistics sector is ready to transition to a cleaner, more environmentally friendly and sustainable future. We are delighted that Woolworths is taking a leading role in sustainable logistics in retail by committing to this substantial rollout of our electric panel vans. We see the global renewable energy and electric vehicle trends manifesting, and we know that it is only a matter of time before the existing internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles are replaced by EVs due to their enhanced efficiencies and economic benefits,” confirms Ndia Magadagela, Everlectric CEO.
Everlectric wants to make the transition to electric a seamless experience for fleet operators. They will do this by bundling in electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, and innovative finance solutions. That means there are no upfront costs on the vehicles & charging infrastructure and fleet operators just get one bill at the end of the month that includes all the “Electrical Fuel Needed.” Everlectric will also be responsible for the vehicle maintenance.
I am a big fan of electric vans. It’s really good to see big retailers such as Woolworths adopting electric vans. With the ever increasing cost of petrol and diesel and the availability of new longer range electric vans, it could be the perfect time for operators in the delivery space to adopt more electric vehicles.
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