Amazon: An electrifying collaboration that owes its origins to a pig shed

Hundreds of electric charging stations have been installed at Amazon sites, with the help of a UK-based company

Getting deliveries to your door in a more sustainable way presents a challenge. Thanks to our collaboration with Mercedes-Benz Vans, we have added over 1,800 zero-emission electric vehicles to our fleet in Europe, including over 500 e-vans for our delivery service providers and their drivers to deliver orders to customers in the UK.

All those new vans need to be charged. To power them, Suffolk-based EO Charging has designed, manufactured and installed a network of electric charging stations. Working similar to a vehicle equivalent of your phone or laptop charger, the charging stations ensure that drivers can operate the new electric vans in a more efficient way. So far, more than 800 of these chargers have been installed at UK Amazon sites, and hundreds more will follow.

From the family barn to the global spotlight

Charlie Jardine, founder of EO Charging
Charlie Jardine

EO’s story begins in the English countryside, an unusual setting for a tech company: “It’s your classic barn-to-global tech startup story,” laughs Charlie Jardine, EO’s founder. In 2015, when he was just 25 years old, Charlie decided to start his own business: “I had worked in sustainability before, and I knew electric vehicles were going to be the future. I knew I could develop ways to make electrical charging services more reliable, simple, and accessible to companies,” he explains. He took the plunge, setting up shop in his grandfather’s barn. “We worked for 12 months in a former pig shed turned workshop, building our first charger,” says Jardine. Once complete, he loaded up the new charger on the back of his hybrid car, and travelled up and down the country in search of partners.

Fast forward five years, and Charlie has made it onto the Forbes 30 under 30 list, building a team of over 100 employees to provide innovative charging stations and software to customers around the world. The company is still based in Suffolk, but the family barn has been sold and replaced by headquarter offices and a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility – and he has opened another office in London.

For Amazon, EO provides charging hardware, software and operational support. Not only have they helped install physical charging stations at Amazon’s logistics sites in the UK, but they are also providing software and maintenance services for the whole Amazon electric fleet in Europe.

Nic Fyfe, EU Director at Amazon Logistics, said: “Sustainability and our climate pledge goals are so important for the future of our last mile operation. Businesses big and small have played a key role in helping us transform our infrastructure. EO is one of them.”

Paving the way

“For us, this collaboration has been an amazing opportunity. It has sustained our growth even during a pandemic, allowing us to continue hiring locally. But it will also offer us the chance to reinvest in our technology and continue innovating,” says Charlie. He believes the future is green: “This is just the beginning. With electric vehicles, we truly have the opportunity to slow down climate change. Companies like Amazon are leading the way, and showing others what needs to be done.”

It’s been a little over one year since Amazon co-founded the Climate Pledge, a commitment to make the business’s environmental footprint net zero carbon by 2040, ten years ahead of the goal set by the Paris Agreement. Since then, Amazon has multiplied its efforts to turn that ambition into reality with a number of initiatives launched across the globe, from establishing a network of renewable energy farms to innovating its package design and creating a new Climate Pledge Friendly badge help customers discover and shop for more sustainable products on the Amazon website.

Amazon is committed to powering its growing electric fleet with clean energy and has committed to run its operations on 100% renewable energy by 2025.

SOURCE: Amazon