Just Eat, Co-Op and Bensons for Beds launch new EV schemes in time for festive deliveries

Image: Bensons For Beds

Just Eat made national news on Wednesday (9 December) when it confirmed that it would change its ‘gig’ business model for couriers. Staff had previously been technically self-employed, but will now have guaranteed access to benefits such as sick pay and pension contributions, in a move that has been welcomed by unions.

The new business model will also help reduce emissions from deliveries, Just Eat said in a statement, as couriers will now be supplied with electric mopeds and bikes. The company hopes to reach more than 1,000 workers by the end of March 2021 and will begin the roll out in London and Birmingham.

Just Eat’s first major foray into the electric vehicle (EV) market came in 2018, when it launched a discount scheme for restaurant partners looking to switch to e-mopeds and renewable energy.

“As the market leader in online food delivery, we believe it is our responsibility to offer couriers a wide range of working options and benefits – and we want to ensure we’re doing this in a sustainable way,” Just Eat’s managing director for the UK, Andrew Kenny, said. “From our experience in other European markets, we know many couriers value the benefits our new model offers and with the use of electric vehicles, this launch will help us to build a sustainable future for food delivery in the UK by keeping carbon emissions to a minimum.”

Signed, sealed, delivered by electric van

Also this week, Bensons for Beds and the Co-Op launched their first electric vans. Both retailers have set net-zero targets ahead of the national 2050 deadline.

Bensons for Beds has launched one electric van, a SAIC Maxus E Deliver 3, which will be used to make deliveries in Essex, Kent and London. The model purports to have an average city range of 213 miles per charge.

The furniture retailer has a fleet of around 200 delivery vehicles and is planning to convert all of them to low-emission models in the coming years. It will use learnings from the pilot to determine how many should be replaced with the same model, and how it will need to upgrade charging infrastructure at its depots.

The Co-Op, meanwhile, has purchased electric vans that will serve customers at three of its locations this month – Hebden Bridge, Holmfirth and Hove. The retailer will add the vans to its stores in the Isle of Wight, Ryde and Whitby in the first quarter of 2021. Overall, it is targeting a fully electric home delivery fleet by 2025.

The move towards e-vans builds on the supermarket’s work to implement zero-emission delivery ‘robots’ for small deliveries. This model launched in Milton Keynes and Northampton earlier this year, in a bid to ensure that vulnerable shoppers could access key items during lockdown.

Built by Starship Technologies, the robots will be added to the Co-Op’s delivery offer in Birmingham, Liverpool, London and Manchester over the next two years.

In addition to offering quality and value quickly, easily and conveniently, we need to do this sustainably,” the Co-Op’s head of eCommerce Chris Conway said. “By replacing all our own vehicles and working collaboratively with partners with shared values, we can ensure we further reduce greenhouse gas emissions – which is essential if we are to have a healthy and sustainable natural environment to pass on to future generations.”

Sarah George

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