Funerals are about to get greener in the south of England as the UK’s first fully electric Tesla based hearse is delivered to a regional, co-operative funeral services provider.
Southern Co-op, which operates just under 60 funeral branches across Berkshire, Dorset, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Somerset, Surrey, Sussex and Wiltshire, has taken delivery of the new, ground-breaking Wisper based on the Tesla Model S.
The hearse will be available at all of The Co-operative Funeralcare branches run by Southern Co-op and will enable families to say goodbye to their loved ones in a more environmentally responsible way.
With state-of-the-art technology and equipment, the entirely silent hearse is zero-emission with full electric operation, measuring around 5.8m in length and has a 220-mile single-charge range capability powered at Southern Co-op sites using electricity from renewable sources.
Steve Pearce, Southern Co-op’s Chief Operating Officer for End of Life Services, said: “This day has been a long time coming with delays caused by the pandemic and waiting for it to be approved for use on the UK’s roads. So this is definitely a time to celebrate and we won’t waste any time in getting it on the road.
“There is only one other existing electric hearse in the UK which is much more compact so we hope this will offer people an elegant alternative which echoes a more traditional appearance. It will also compliment an existing range of other eco-friendly products we offer as we all work together to tackle climate change and make a difference to our environment.”
As well as the hearse, delivered through funeral vehicle provider Coleman Milne, Southern Co-op is also the first funeral business in the UK to take delivery of two new hybrid Mercedes E-Class Limousines and two new converted E class Mercedes hybrid hearses.
These six-door models offer style and comfort with high tech accessories and an electric vehicle powertrain with the ability to run the vehicles in full electric mode for an entirely silent funeral procession.
Mark Smith, Chief Executive at Southern Co-op, said: “It’s important that we all work together to tackle climate change, so we are delighted to now be able to offer our customers the choice of a more environmentally favourable funeral fleet and to take the next step on our sustainability journey together.
“The appetite for change is there within our communities so, by making it easier for loved ones to make more informed choices, people can play their part in making a positive difference to our environment and our communities.”
Southern Co-op is currently working towards its ambitious science based targets to cut direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions from its business by 2030, supported by a climate action pathway of planned activity and an initial investment of £5.8m.
To view Southern Co-op’s long term strategy including its commitment to climate change and responsible business, visit www.thesouthernco-operative.co.uk/our-plan/.