Back to blog

Electric van deliveries in London

June 15, 2018 | Posted by Amy

A photo of the Red-Inc zero emissions van

How Red-Inc are looking to solve issues around electric van deliveries in London.

London is a congested city but thankfully the world is slowly opening its eyes to the pollution. Air quality, emissions and traffic are really bad, We hope electric van deliveries in London will soon be the norm.  New green incentives and indeed penalties will help no doubt.

Up until this year we have struggled to find a environmentally friendly solution to our van deliveries in London. Electric van deliveries in London are the answer but our main problem is our distant from the capital, capacity and range.

Red-Inc is a business that cares . Each year we set  KPI`s and targets to monitor and actively reduce our environmental impact as a part of our B Corp certification. It is therefore frustrating when we have a problem like this that can’t be immediately fixed.

Yes, there are electric vans currently out on the road, but as yet they don’t actually serve our purpose. Firstly, they are fairly small; the Nissan eNV200 is a cracking van but not big enough to carry a days’ worth of deliveries. Secondly, the range for a day out is too short in line with the capacity.

Current situation and why we don’t currently offer Electric van deliveries in London 

We openly admit that we may have created some of the problem as we offer such an intimate desk top delivery service. This is dependent on our exceptional and trusted staff.  Red-Inc like to be in control of deliveries and see it as important that we have that ownership.

Ok, yes, we could sub it out to an electric van courier company in London and possibly this could be a good short-term fix too. But we are looking to the long-term. How Red-Inc can remain independent on its journey whilst addressing all the environmental impact issues we have.

Here and now solutions – change of mindset and cultural purchasing habits

Initially, we looked at how we could simply reduce our deliveries. We have big clients that are based in the city. Over time we have implemented some great incentive schemes to minimise this impact. By collaborating with our customers, we took internal steps to successfully reduce the days we go to London. This gave us about a 30% organic reduction. We further introduced both rationalised drops, a day of care and a 100% fulfilment service model. This means no second or third deliveries. Both customer and we gain from this type of operational efficiency.

Secondly, we knew we had to take some immediate action to bolster our internal reduction scheme. We partnered with a fellow B Corp and offset our delivery miles. Ecosphere+ are a genuine carbon offset company that are doing amazing things in their space. As it stands today all our deliveries are completely carbon neutral, so that’s a nice feeling and an ok place for the short term.

Our offset project story can be read here.

The future of electric van deliveries in London

This year there seem to be options arising with releases from Mercedes with their E-Sprinter and Renault with their Master ZE . If you dig deep you can find other brands and conversions, although despite the government grant these still carry a hefty price tag.

There seems to be a lack of options and information available at this time. However I’m optimistic that with major car brands in the domestic sector really committing to electric model’s, we will get there in the end. Ultimately the commercial world will have to catch up too!

But like anything on this scale this is slow moving stuff and I’m sure a very price sensitive subject – but what price can we put on the planet and clean air? And can that cost saving in fuel help to soften the blow?

Are there any better alternatives?

Electric might also not be the only other option. There are already a few alternatives that have drastically reduced emissions; hydrogen conversions for example, where some models can make 200 miles and just water is released, so possibly the cleanest road fuel available you might say.

We are confident that small enterprises will continue to thrive with cargo bikes and low capacity electric vans and until we can purchase vans that meet our criteria, we will continue to offset our delivery miles with ecosphere+.

Beyond that, how long before long we might even have self-driving cars and transport, what then?