The Australian branch of Swedish home furnishings giant Ikea is taking its transport fleet all-electric, with a commitment to have quit internal combustion engines for all of its delivery and assembly vehicles nationally by 2025.
Ikea, which has been one of the leading installers of renewables globally – and of commercial-scale solar in Australia – said on Friday that its shift to EVs would start immediately, reaching 5 per cent in FY19, 10 per cent in FY2020 and 100 per cent in FY25.
The company in Australia has a fleet of around 100 trucks to deliver large furniture and another 250 vehicles for deliveries of smaller goods – already seven of the these are electric, delivering goods in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne.
The vehicles it uses are not its own, but outsourced through partner companies like Kings Transport and Logistics, which itself has been switching to electric in partnership with Victoria-based electric vehicle conversion specialist, SEA Electric.
As we reported here, SEA packs – which include all the parts, including a built-in high-voltage charger – are designed to electrify a truck chassis or delivery van, and an easily be fitted on most leading trucking brands, giving a relatively quick and very efficient electric transformation.
The company – headquartered in Australia in Dandenong – has successfully fitted systems to vehicles made by Isuzu, Mercedes-Benz, Hino, Iveco and XGW and FAW, and recently announced state government-backed plans to build a “massive” EV assembly plant in the Latrobe Valley.
Fellow Ikea logistics partner ANC noted at the announcement of the EV target that the electric trucks it was using were capable of carrying 400kg more load than the diesel version of the same model, as well as other more obvious benefits for drivers, including less noise and pollution.
Ikea, which in Australia has also committed to sourcing 100 per cent renewable electricity for its operations by next year, is also a member of the Climate Group’s EV100 initiative for accelerating the global shift to EVs.
This sort of flexing of corporate muscle to push for electric vehicle uptake could be of particular importance in countries like Australia, where EV uptake and availability lags well behind the rest of the world, thanks in no small part to a dearth of government policies supporting the clean technology.
As we reported here, a recent survey of small business owners around the world found two-thirds of them expected their fleets to be completely reliant on electric drivetrain technology within 20 years – but not in the Australian market where less than half of business shared the same expectation.
“Global consumer brands like IKEA have a crucial opportunity to inspire faster action on electric transport, while showing their customers the wider societal benefits it brings,” said the head of EV100 at Climate Group, Sandra Rolling.
“We want to see many more companies in Australia follow IKEA’s lead.”
Jan Gardberg, Ikea’s country manager in Australia, said the push to zero emissions vehicles was just one of many initiatives and ambitions making up the company’s 2030 People and Planet Positive Strategy, but hinted that other parties could be doing more to help the cause.
“Our end goal is to have a positive impact on people and the planet, and while IKEA is a large global organisation, we can’t do this alone.
“We’re excited to be partnering with many like-minded organisations in Australia and around the globe to help us create impact and drive positive change,” he said.
“It’s not just good for the environment, but we also see it makes good business sense,” he said at the company’s announcement on Friday.