Central England Co-op is using eight fully electric Mercedes-Benz vans as part of a trial of delivery services on routes in Norfolk, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Birmingham and Derby.
The supermarket retailer is trialling the new service via two online shopping platforms, Appy Shop and Snappy Shopper which customers use to make orders.
The orders are picked and packed at local Central England Co-op stores and delivered in mid-sized (L2) eVito PURE models, which produce zero tailpipe emissions.
The vehicles are supplied by Dealer Midlands Truck and Van and charging points have been installed at participating stores.
The vans are the subject of a Mercedes-Benz Finance contract hire agreement and include a grant contribution from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).
Mercedes-Benz Vans and its dealer have held training sessions in Birmingham and Derby to help the retailer’s drivers achieve optimum performance and efficiency from the electric vans.
The eVito’s 41 kWh battery is mounted in a protective housing beneath the floor, allowing 6.0m3 of cargo area. The vehicle has a range of approximately 93 miles and a 923 kg payload allowance.
Central England Co-op transport manager Gary Tomlinson explained: “The impact of our operations on the environment sits at the heart of every decision we make, which is why the eco credentials of the vehicles we were going to use to launch these two new services had to be front and centre.
“The eVito’s zero emissions driveline is a key selling point for both services and is heavily promoted in all of our marketing activities, as well as on the vans themselves.”
He added: “We researched the environmentally-friendly vehicle market thoroughly before concluding that the eVito represented the best fit for our business. It is perfectly sized for our requirements, and the sliding load doors on both sides are a definite advantage when loading and making deliveries.”
The eVito’s electric motor produces 114 hp and drives the front wheels via a single-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is instantaneous, while top speed is restricted as standard to 50 mph, although this can be increased on request. The steering wheel-mounted selectors allow drivers to choose between C, E and E+ (Comfort, Eco and Extended range) settings.
“The feedback from colleagues who are using these vehicles every day has been entirely positive. They appreciate the eVito’s quietness and comfort, as well as its all-round driveability,” said Tomlinson.
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