Waitrose trials wireless charging for delivery vans

UK supermarket chain Waitrose is to trial a fleet of wireless charging electric vehicles out of its St Katherine’s Dock store. This is part of the chain’s plans to end using fossil fuels by 2030 across its entire fleet.

For vehicles that cannot take fossil fuels such as HGVs, the John Lewis Partnership owned grocer will use biomethane as fuel. It will have 340 such vehicles on the road in the coming months, and all of its 600 HGVs will be on the fuel.

Wireless charging vans have a slim charging pad under the chassis that allows the van’s battery to be topped up by parking over an electric plate. Tests have showed the system to be almost as efficient as connecting a cable to the charging socket on the vehicle. The technology is being installed by EV specialists Flexible Power Systems.

The technology has been trialled in recent months by the City of Edinburgh Council and Heriot-Watt University.

Marija Rompani, director of ethics and sustainability at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Before the pandemic, we were taking 60,000 orders a week – we’re now doing well over 200,000 orders. That uplift in demand for grocery deliveries means that prioritising an electric fleet is more important than ever, particularly as world leaders meet at COP26 to discuss how we lower global emissions.”

“We’ve already committed to electric vans and have created a new biomethane gas filling station too, which is helping to reduce CO2 emissions by 80%. We continue to look for new innovative ways to cut our emissions even further, as well as bring in the latest technology. Being the first to trial this new wireless charging technology is both exciting and another example of our ambition to show leadership in this space.”