Independent food supplier, Savona Foodservice, is the latest company to run one of Tevva Motors Ltd’s range extended electric vehicles (REEV) for a trial.

The premium wholesale supplier, which has been trading for more than 50 years, is the second customer to sign up to Tevva’s innovative Electrify initiative, which allows businesses to hire a 12- tonne eTruck for six months in order to demonstrate the environmental and financial benefits.

Savona, which has depots in Oxford and Ilfracombe, will hire a 3.9-metre wheelbase, 12t GVW truck with tail lift and a multi-temperature body capable of operating at -20 degrees to enable the transportation of frozen foods from its depot in Kidlington to businesses in central London and Oxford.

The company will trial the eTruck in a variety of conditions and environments, with a view to providing a seamless transition for its drivers as well as a more environmentally sensitive service. Assuming a successful trial period, Savona will look to incorporate this vehicle as part of its permanent fleet and will consider additional vehicles during 2020 as part of its ongoing fleet renewal programme.

Midway through a three-year plan to bring food wholesale into the 21st Century, Savona has already pioneered online trading and ePOD (Proof of Delivery) software in the food industry and has been seeking a solution to deliver goods with the least possible environmental impact.

With Oxford among the first cities in the UK to implement a zero emissions zone (ZEZ) – which will restrict access to all but electric vehicles – the partnership with Tevva means that Savona will be ideally-placed to offer complete continuity of service.

Savona Foodservice managing director, Mike Morgan, said: “We have been on the search for a suitable delivery solution for some time but conversations with other companies stopped dead in their tracks as soon as we start discussing running refrigeration down to -20 degrees».

We’re delighted to have found a partner whose approach is collaborative and forward-thinking and who have a solution that works and is good for more than just the last mile. Just as important is their intelligent approach to energy management using their PREMS (predictive range extension management system) technology, which uses geofences to autonomously control deployment of the range extender to maximise battery capacity”.

We anticipate that this solution will prove to be at least as commercially viable as traditional, diesel-based options.”

David Thackray, sales and marketing director at Tevva, said: “Savona is the first customer on our Tevva Electrify scheme to use a temperature-controlled EREV solution; the foodservice industry is hugely important, as it is worth £57bn and is the UK’s fourth-largest employer”.

“Naturally, logistics is only part of that but, as emissions regulations tighten ever further and more clean air and zero emissions zones are implemented, like the ZEZ imminent in Savona’s hometown, the businesses that serve the foodservice industry need to act now to put solutions in place.”