** Update, 11 July 2018**
The electric version of the Renault Master we trialled in October (see below) is still unavailable. The release date keeps on getting pushed back. After 2 years of waiting for a larger electric vehicle to come onto the market, there’s still nothing. The harsh reality is that Farmdrop will not have a future unless we can use bigger delivery vehicles; we can’t protect good terms for producers and increase access to tasty and healthy food without keeping our overheads low. So we’ve had to stomach the previously unthinkable and introduce a small number of diesel vans for deliveries. This wasn’t an easy decision, and we wish we didn’t have to do it, but we can’t wait any longer. We will continue to make deliveries in electric delivery vans as much as possible and we are on the shortlist for Ford’s new hybrid van, which will be available in 2019. Watch this space.
Farmdrop is growing. That’s great news not just for us, but for our many amazing producers who rely on us to help grow their businesses. As our order numbers grow we are constantly looking for efficiencies to protect the share we pay producers and to give customers great value and amazing food.
In order to help us stay competitive we’ve been looking at slightly larger electric vans. In fact, we’ve already picked our favourite of the bunch and it’s this Electric Renault Master (pictured below). Unfortunately these wonderful electric vans will only be commercially available sometime next year, but in order to figure out if they are going to work we’ve decided to give their ugly cousins a go.
This means that during the month of October, there is a chance your Farmdrop delivery may arrive not in one of our cute electric Vanimals but in one of two bigger unmarked Dieselmals. These vehicles are the same dimensions as the Electric Renault Master but run on smelly diesel instead of the ecotricity we usually use. The purpose of this trial is to provide us with:
Real data for how the unit economics of a mixed Farmdrop fleet of small and large electric vehicles stack up.
Early testing of a vehicle sized exactly the same as an electric vehicle which is not yet commercially available.
Real feedback from the drivers of how driving a larger vehicle around London compares to Vanimals.
An opportunity to compare route planning using a mixed fleet alongside the current fleet of Vanimals.
The two test diesel vehicles will form part of the Farmdrop fleet for October only. Clearly these vehicles do not meet Farmdrop’s criteria of zero carbon and as such we will be offsetting the carbon produced (approximately 1.5 tonnes for the month) through Certified Emission Reductions, a scheme to promote clean energy advancement in developing countries. Our test is not ideal for Central London, but will be net neutral to the world.
Why did we not wait until the larger electric vehicles were available to test? The answer is that we could have, but we are continually looking for ways to keep our overheads low so as to keep putting more money in the hands of our producers. Trialling a larger van will also ultimately mean putting fewer vehicles on London’s already crowded streets sooner.
So if you see a Farmdrop Dieselmal on the road, know it’s temporary and not a diversion from our mission or values.