Having already installed solar panels last year to offset their electricity use, for Macedon Ranges bakery-owner Simon Matthee, making the switch to a 100 per cent electric delivery van was just the next step in taking The Millett Road Maker in a more environmentally-friendly direction.
“It’s part of a broader push to make the bakery more sustainable,” Simon told Baking Business.
“The van was really just the next step in that process. I’ve been keeping an eye on the cost and effort tipping point and it was just recently that the cost of fuel for our delivery van equated to the same cost of the extra finance for an electric van.”
On Tuesday, Simon took delivery of a brand new Kangoo ZE electric van, which he ordered without even test-driving, because there simply weren’t any available to test drive.
“I know the vans have been around in the UK since about 2013, so it had a pretty good track record,” he said.
And so far, the new van is living up to expectation, although Simon said there has been a bit of a “learning curve” to get used to, with the lack of sound being a strange feeling as well as the regenerative braking.
“I’ve only done two delivery runs in it so far and it’s really good,” he said.
“When you take your foot off the accelerator you actually try not to use the brake at all; you just let it coast and it slows the van down.
“At first it’s a bit like driving in a really low gear all the time—every time you take your foot off the accelerator it just slows right down.”
Although the proper charging station—a ZAPPI—is yet to be installed, Simon said this is where their efforts towards sustainability will really come together.
The charger will automatically draw any excess solar power that our panels generate,” he explained.
“It monitors the cables going into the grid, and if anything starts going towards the grid it diverts it to the van. Because our delivery runs are usually finished by 10 in the morning, it’s got that prime solar period to generate.
“After the day’s done, we’ve also got a special electric vehicle tariff from our power company [Power Shop] which means that whatever doesn’t get charged during the day, will be boosted between midnight and 4am.”
In fact, the company installing the charger, EVolution, bought one of the same vans in the same shipment as Simon’s—the only two that didn’t go to government.