Sainsbury’s rolls out electric vans

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s is to purchase 50 Edison electric vans from Smith Electric Vehicles (SEV) for its online grocery-delivery service.

When added to the existing fleet of 20 the supermarket will have the largest fleet of electric vans in the world, according to SEV.

The vans will be delivered in the first half of 2010 and deployed in the London area, meaning 60 per cent of central Londoners will have their groceries delivered in one of these environmentally responsible vehicles.

The 3.5 tonne vans will be based at 10 London Sainsbury’s stores and are due to hit the road from March.

The vans have been modified to meet Sainsbury’s specific requirements for its urban online deliveries.

Each vehicle is restricted to 40mph and can comfortably achieve 60 miles per day.

The vans are also fitted with a fast charging system.

To ensure even greater efficiency the vans use regenerative braking, meaning drivers can recapture the energy used while the vehicle is slowing down to help recharge the batteries.

The move follows the introduction of an electric-recharge-point network at London Sainsbury’s stores earlier this month.

The points are situated at 10 stores around the city, allowing customers to charge their electric vehicles free of charge while they shop.

SEV has also won the fleet-management contract, renewable annually, to maintain and service the new vehicles for Sainsbury’s.

The Edison electric van, produced in collaboration with Ford of Europe, utilises a Ford Transit chassis to house the electric-vehicle technology.