In a previous instalment of our Net Zero spotlight series, CitySprint’s CSR Manager Natasha Marques, told us about how her role leading on the implementation of our decarbonisation strategy, and how we are rising to the challenge of onboarding couriers onto the journey of transitioning from diesel to electric vehicles (EVs).
In this instalment we spoke to Janus, who started using an electric vehicle in 2022. Janus told us about his experiences using an EV compared to a petrol or diesel-based vehicle, the practicalities of charging and maintenance, and what customers think.
Can you share your experience with using an electric van for courier services? How has it impacted your daily operations compared to traditional gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles?
The electric van produces less noise, which can pose safety concerns, as pedestrians may not always hear it. To address this issue, the Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) typically activates automatically at low speeds or when the vehicle is reversing, ensuring that pedestrians are alerted.
However, it’s important to note the environmental benefits of electric vans. Additionally, they are cost-effective in terms of compliance with Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) regulations and vehicle taxes. Charging the van is considerably cheaper than refuelling it.
Electric vehicle charging infrastructure can sometimes be a concern for drivers. What strategies or tips can you offer to effectively manage charging your van to ensure it's always ready for deliveries?
I typically charge the van in the evening. This helps me begin the day with a full charge, ensuring the van is ready for a full day of deliveries. While public street charging stations are available, they can be slow and time-consuming. I recommend scheduling the charging during off-peak hours when rates are lower.
There are also helpful apps I use to locate nearby charging stations.
It's important to note that there's a driving test requirement to become familiar with a new van before you're permitted to use it. This ensures that you're well-prepared for charging and the general use of the van.
Can you tell us some of the differences, perhaps some of the questions you’ve had about your electric van from customers or other couriers?
Many of the places I visit, including customers like the BBC, believe that electric vehicles are much better for the environment, and they are beginning to discuss the possibility of transitioning to electric vehicles exclusively (not confirmed yet).
I think that as battery technology improves and allows for longer ranges, more people will be inclined to adopt electric vans. For instance, long-distance travel can still be challenging with current battery life.
During the charging periods for your electric van, are there any specific activities or tasks you engage in to use the downtime productively?
During the evening charging time, I typically go for a walk. This helps me because during the day, I need to stay focused on the road, and walking helps improve my mental health.
How would you summarise the benefits of using an EV?
It's good for the environment, it's quiet, and customers appreciate it. I hardly even notice that it's electric now, so it's all positive.
Details of CitySprint's CSR strategy can be found at www.citysprint.co.uk/about-us/csr