• Woolworths has introduced electric panel vans, which will run its online delivery services.
  • The retailer partnered with DSV and Everlectric for its electric vans. 
  • In two months, the retailer has managed to save almost 3,600kg of carbon dioxide.
  • For stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za

Retailer Woolworths now has solar-powered vans delivering goods ordered online to people's homes, and it has saved almost 3,600kg of carbon dioxide emissions over the course of two months.

It is the first retailer in South Africa to introduce electric panel vans for online delivery services. 

In a Twitter post on Tuesday, Woolworths said the move is in line with its vision to be one of the most sustainable retailers in the world.

"… In collaboration with DSV and Everlectric we are trialling electric panel vans into our online shopping delivery fleet, a first in the South African retail space," the retailer said."

Everlectric packages electric vehicles and charging infrastructure and also offers finance solutions for electric vehicles and related products.

"To power the vans, we source electricity from renewable and sustainable sources including rooftop Solar PV installations. Where onsite generation of renewable energy is not available or practical, we offset 100% of the electricity emissions via renewable energy certificates," Woolworths wrote.

With the growing awareness around sustainability, many businesses are turning to more eco-friendly methods of doing business. Woolworths has set lofty sustainability targets for itself, including that all its energy should be derived from renewable sources by 2030. It also wants to have net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, among other goals. 

In an electric van, the diesel or petrol tank and the engine are substituted by an electric system that powers it. They offer a wide range of benefits; besides being better for the environment, they are also more cost-effective as they eliminate fuel costs. 

Retailers in other developed markets such as UK's Tesco and Waitrose have also fast adopted electric vans for deliveries.

Woolworths's introduction of electric vans comes a month after Estonia headquartered E-hailing company Bolt announced its rollout of electric taxis in South Africa. Bolt users can now select to ride in an electric car or a hybrid vehicle under its "green category".

Earlier in the year, it launched an electric bicycle pilot in Cape Town with its food delivery service, Bolt Food.

(Compiled by Ntando Thukwana)

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