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Sainsbury Orders Another 50 Electric Vans As Companies Work With Mayor Of London to Encourage Adoption of Commercial EVs (corrected)

Sainsbury’s electric Edison. Click to enlarge.

UK retailer Sainsbury Online, which uses the Smith Electric Vehicles Edison electric vans for home shopping delivery in London, is ordering another 50 electric vans for its fleet. The order comes as Sainsbury, TNT Express and other leading UK companies are working with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to encourage wider take-up of commercial electric vehicles.

An early adopter of EVs, Sainsbury has worked with Smith Electric Vehicles since 2006 and now has the largest fleet of new technology electric delivery vans in Britain. Sainsbury is still in conntract negotiations, and will not yet confirm the supplier or suppliers of the 50 new electric vans.

With 100 Smith Electric Vehicles electric commercial vehicles, TNT has the largest fleet of new technology electric delivery trucks in the world.

London was the natural choice to trial TNT’s first zero emission vehicle three years ago, and since then we’ve deployed them around 23 other major towns and cities. TNT fully supports the Mayor’s initiative in London and we are happy to share our expertise and knowledge with all City Hall stakeholders to ensure the capital has a much greener future on the roads.

—Tom Bell, Regional Managing Director, TNT Express UK & Ireland

Sainsbury’s and TNT have signed up to work together with City Hall to share their experiences and to help other organizations across London to do the same. Other companies who have electric vans on London’s streets and are supporting the scheme include DHL Supply Chain and Go-Ahead London.

Leading bus operator Go-Ahead London recently took delivery of its first Smith Edison vans following a successful month-long trial of the technology. The vans are used as support vehicles to keep London’s bus fleet running.

The Mayor plans to make London the electric vehicle capital of Europe. Steps include pledging to deliver 25,000 charging points to form an integrated network across London by 2015; adding 1,000 electric vehicles to the GLA fleet; and retaining the congestion charge exemption for EVs.

There are currently 1,700 EVs operating in London out of a total 8,000 nationwide. The Mayor has goaled 100,000 EVs (5% of London’s fleet) as soon as possible.

Infrastructure. On the infrastructure side, London ultimately envisions three types of recharging points:

  • Slow (240V, 13A single-phase). Typical applications would be an overnight recharge at home or a charge at work.
  • Fast (240V, 32A three-phase). Typical uses would be a recharge while undertaking daily activities.
  • Rapid (up to 500V, 200A three-phase). For “on the go” charging.

The Mayor’s office will work with boroughs and Transport for London (TfL) to provide a total of 250 on-street public charging points by 2012, and work with partners to deliver 2,000 charging points in public car parks by 2015.

The Mayor;’s office will work with partners to roll out a network of 50 fast charge points across London by 2012, so that all users are within 3 miles of a fast charge point. A total of 200 additional fast charging points will be installed by 2015. The Mayor will work with partners to investigate the potential for rapid charging points, with an eye toward servicing market segments such as taxis and commercial vehicles.

The Mayor’s office is targeting 22,500 slow charging points in company car parks.




The switch to EV's has definitely taken off this year. I thought I was an optimist, but the speed at which events unfold surprises me.


UPS and FedX have both done hybrids. It is clean air, less fuel and bottom line. If they can reduce costs with hybrid, CNG and/or EV, that is good business.

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