iceland paneltex electric lorry

Iceland is trialling an electric delivery van to cut emissions from its online service.

The frozen foods specialist will initially use one 5.5 tonne Isuzu chassis powered entirely by electricity as part of its home delivery fleet.

But it aims to roll out more electric vans if the vehicle keeps the correct temperature and yields energy and cost savings.

The three-year trial is part of a wider £38 million project to cut emissions funded by the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles and its innovation agency, Innovate UK.

The project will aim to tackle traditional problems of using electric vehicles to make food deliveries, which create extra demands on the battery due to the need for cool temperatures.

The Iceland vehicle is made by Paneltex and will use thermal energy storage technology from Sunamp. To make sure it is as efficient as possible, algorithm specialist Route Monkey will optimise the route by avoiding battery-draining hills and calculating reroutes for last-minute orders.

The performance of the vehicle will be monitored over the course of the trial to identify any areas of improvement. Demonstrating positive results should enable Iceland to deploy more electric vehicles and encourage other retailers to do the same, said Route Monkey.

“Fundamentally, our goal is to make electric vans and trucks a far more attractive option for chilled goods home delivery fleets,” said CEO Colin Ferguson.

The news comes after Sainsbury’s trialled a liquid nitrogen-powered truck in its delivery fleet in June, although it is not yet known whether it will pursue a wider rollout.