Woolworths goes electric for online deliveries in South Africa

 ·10 May 2023

Woolworths, in partnership with DSV and Everlectric, has launched an extensive rollout of electric panel vans (EVs) to deliver their customers’ online purchases.

The retailer said it has added 41 fully-electric panel vans to its delivery fleet to reduce its carbon footprint and promote sustainability in the retail industry.

These new vehicles can drive up to 300km per charge, with the Woolies online electric delivery vehicles driving an average of 150km to 220km per day.

Additionally, there are ‘live advanced telematics’ in the electric delivery vehicles, which maximises operational efficiencies, increases daily range, and ensures driver safety by remotely limiting power and speed (currently set to a maximum of 120km/h), Woolworths said.

The new electric vehicles have been introduced on selected routes in Cape Town and Gauteng, with further rollouts and extensions into KwaZulu Natal planned to follow as soon as possible.

“Last year, we announced our commitment to electric delivery vehicles, and we are delighted to now have nearly half our fleet powered by the sun.

“We have bold sustainability goals and ambitions, which included the goal to have zero net carbon emissions by 2040, so this investment is a big step towards these goals,” said Woolworths’ Head of Online and Mobile Liz Hillock.

On an annual basis, these 41 vehicles will have the potential to save over 400,000 kgs of tailpipe carbon emissions. With the exponential growth of our online business, switching to electric delivery vehicles is a smart and sustainable solution that benefits everyone, she added.

To power the vans, most of the electricity needed will be sourced from renewable sources by utilising DSV’s extensive solar infrastructure at their Gauteng and Cape Town facilities.

“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,” explained Hillock.

DSV Senior Director of Operations, Greg Saffy, added that while recognising our role in the transport and logistics industry, DSV has raised its sustainability ambitions and committed to reaching net zero emissions across its operations by 2050.

“Achieving our sustainability goals cannot be realised alone. That’s why we work with customers and industry partners like Woolworths and Everlectric to develop solutions that fit our planet and our business,” said Saffy.

“We are very excited to be powering the Woolworths green logistics journey. Last year we spoke of what is possible, this year we are leading the charge in green logistics with South Africa’s first electric vehicle commercial fleet rollout,” he added.

“Woolworths, along with DSV and Everlectric, have proven the solution’s viability through the proof of concept we have run over the last two years on South African roads.

“We are excited to now scale these learnings in our commercial solution that not only decarbonises our clients’ fleets but is also cost-efficient,” said Everlectric CEO Ndia Magadagela.

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