The Hidden Cost of Refrigerated Home Deliveries

The boom in convenience and ease of home delivery has resulted in a significant increase in polluting and dangerous emissions from light goods vehicles in the UK, which have risen by at least 65% since 1990 [1]. When refrigerated vans are considered, the figures become even more alarming. CO2 emissions from refrigerated vans are nearly double the government’s target of 147 g/km, while NOX emissions exceed the Euro 6ab limit by more than three times, at 0.125 g/km [2]. As a result, vans have become a major contributor to air pollution in cities, responsible for 14% of NOx emissions from road transport [3].

BEDEO has been working with Ocado since 2019 to build electric refrigerated vans, helping them to clean up their fleet and supporting them in deploying cleaner, safer, and better-value electric van technology.

Ocado BEDEO Van

Expanding charging capacity and alleviating range concerns

Ocado initially rolled out BEDEO’s vans on a pilot basis to test the vehicles and charging capacity. It quickly became clear that the vans were performing well, and as more vans were ordered, Ocado expanded their charging capacity. BEDEO supported this process, bringing expert advice and partnerships with charging companies.

Bespoke charging solutions were also developed to meet Ocado’s specific needs. The increased weight from the electric powertrain was counteracted with the addition of innovative solar panels on vans, which supplies power back, ensuring that the BEDEO vans can run the TRU and complete a full delivery shift without charging.

Due to the nature of last-mile delivery, any charging issues that remained were alleviated by the schedule of the day. An average shift for a driver in a city rarely exceeds a 30-mile radius, with most drops occurring in a concentrated area. Even with shifts for the vans that start at 5.30 am and finish at 11 pm, the distance driven is often low, and charging can also occur when the van is restocked between deliveries, making the process seamless.

Working with Ocado to train their drivers

BEDEO’s electric refrigerated vans are a higher weight than a standard van, posing a challenge for Ocado’s delivery drivers – not all drivers had the license needed to drive this weight of vehicle, or the experience of driving an electric van rather than a standard diesel one.

The BEDEO team worked with Ocado to tackle this and encouraged the government to supply a derogation so that drivers could drive a higher weight electric vehicle. Additionally, the five hours of extra training required by the government were added to the Ocado training with BEDEO’s support so that new drivers had the skills to drive the vans.

Most important was making drivers feel confident and well-supported during this change in approach. BEDEO conducted handover training for drivers as standard when supplying vans, as well as going out on shift with some drivers to understand their day-to-day and troubleshoot any issues.

Drivers were quickly converted to the benefits of an electric van – in cities, vans with no vibration, exhaust fumes, or gears create a far more relaxed and comfortable driving experience.

Saving cost and increasing social impact

Ocado vans operate where people live, delivering essential food and supplies right to their front doors.  BEDEO has enabled Ocado to cut its emissions and continue to deliver on its corporate responsibility mission to change the way the world shops for good; to harness the unlimited potential of technology for people and the planet.

In addition, BEDEO electric vans have a lower total cost of ownership than a standard diesel van and are exempt from London’s ULEZ charge of £12.50 per day and congestion charging, enabling Ocado to save up to £7,500 in charges per year per van[4].

By working with BEDEO, Ocado can be confident that they are operating as efficiently as possible as a business on cost, and as effectively as possible environmentally, to protect the communities they serve.



[1] Delivering a Greener Future – Urban Transport Group

[2] Real-world CO2 and NOX emissions from refrigerated vans – National Library of Medicine

[3] Transport & Environment: Vans

[4] GreenFleet – London’s ULEZ marks the moment for EVs