Sendle it over, Australia’s first solar-powered delivery fleet

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If you want to ship sustainably throughout Australia’s metropoles there is a new verb in town, Sendle. The carbon-neutral company has partnered with Bond’s Couriers to operate Australia’s first fleet of solar-powered delivery vans. Need to send a courier from one side of Sydney to another? Sendle it. 

At the Bonds depot in Western Sydney, Sendle’s fleet of 100% electric vans take a full charge from the 319 solar panels atop its roof. With a full solar charge, each van can easily work a full 10-hour shift covering some 200km about town. 

Rooftop solar really does deliver the goods.

Image: Sendle

According to research from Salmat and seconding from the Australian Retailers Association, approximately a third of shoppers are willing to splash out for more environmentally friendly products, and some three-quarters of Australian shoppers see ethical brand behaviour as a key concern in their consumerism. 

It is this evolution in consumer ethics that is literally driving the sustainable transport revolution. “We believe that shipping can be good for the world and environmental stewardship is a key part of that,” said Sendle co-founder and CEO, James Chin Moody, who made mention of Australia’s recently devastating bushfires and how their unmitigated rage reminded everyone of just what we are all risking by a continuance in unsustainable practices. 

“Everyone, including business, has an important role to play in creating a sustainable future,” continued Moody. “It’s mission-critical that we continue to reform the industry and the arrival of Bonds’ solar-powered electric vehicle fleet couldn’t be more perfectly timed.” 

The transport industry produces roughly one-fifth of Australia’s total GHG emissions, 102 million tonnes in 2018 alone. Sendle is at the avant-garde of revolutionising this unsustainable sector, with plans to continue the rollout of its solar-powered EV fleet throughout Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. 

What is really impressive is the fact that Sendle and Bonds are actually a carbon-sink in the transport sector. The 319 solar panels above the Bonds depot produce upwards of 600 kW of electricity daily, that is 7x more than what the delivery vans need, meaning Sendle and Bonds actually feed their excess solar power back into the grid. 

Post-Covid-19 

The Covid-19 pandemic and its resultant quarantine effects have demonstrated just how dependant many metropoles are on delivery services. The digital revolution had seemed to promise an easing of tangible long-distance interaction, and while letter-writing is a thing of the past, we send each more things than ever before and expect our things to arrive sooner than ever before. 

MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics has estimated that opting for standard-delivery rather than next-day delivery could help to decrease CO2 emissions by approximately a third. Opting for sustainable shipping, Sendling your stuff, will decrease your delivery footprint to zero. 

If it weren’t for eCommerce many small-businesses might not be making it through these unprecedented times, but it is imperative in these changing times that we install sustainable practices within the foundations of our habits. 

GoodHouseKeeping listed sustainable shipping and delivery as one of its top tips to live more sustainable during lockdown, and such practices don’t have to stop with the easing of quarantine measures. Many big online retailers, Etsy for example, already offer zero-emissions shipping, but this is really just the bare minimum. We are facing a decision-time across all industries in 2020, to clean the place up or let it decay into chaos further still. For many of us, making the right decision is as simple as taking the ethical importance of our consumption seriously. 

“Our partnership (with Sendle) has seen us delivering an increasing number of parcels for small businesses in the eCommerce industry and there’s huge interest from our customers for electric vehicles and sustainable shipping,” said Bonds Couriers CEO, Jonathan Ryce. “We hope this move will inspire our peers in the industry to know that doing greener business is not only possible but vital to our long term viability.” 

Sendle and Bond’s initial rollout is of 20 solar-powered EVs, but this number, and delivery coverage, is set to expand.