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AO Logistics lightens its load by working with Formula 1

AO.com has revealed it will be refitting a number of its vehicles with carbon fibre boxes in order to allow its fleet to transport more white goods and third-party packages up and down the country.

The fulfilment arm of the business, AO Logistics, has been working with a local manufacturer, which makes parts for Formula 1 teams, with the first trucks to feature the light-weight boxes to hit the roads in December 2019. The initial roll out will be upgrade around 240 vehicles out of its 500-strong fleet.

AO Logistics MD, David Ashwell, described the new innovation to Essential Retail during the recording of the latest episode of the Retail Ramble podcast, explaining that the carbon fibre trucks will make its fleet much more efficient and in turn, help the business to become more sustainable.

“We have to use the technology that exists and do the best we can with that technology,” he said on the podcast, which you can listen to below.

The company is constantly trying to lighten to weight of its vehicles in order to fit more products onto each truck. Currently, a 3.5 tonne vehicle’s weight capacity is around 650-950kg, which Ashwell says is not enough. By using carbon fibre to build the box which sits on the truck chassis, this payload will increase to 1.4 tonnes. Ultimately resulting in less vehicles to transport more goods.

Commenting on the need for businesses to become more responsible and think more about the environment, Ashwell said: “There’s one statement [we use at AO] – treat every customer like your gran and do what would make your mum proud. That’s the mantra that drives us as a business.”

Despite the added expense, Ashwell pointed out that the formula 1 carbon fibre boxes make business sense in the long run.

“Yes they are significantly more expensive and a lot of people won’t want to do them, but we believe we’ve found the way to do it and make them economic – it improves our efficiency, and the efficiency is a phenomenal by-product at reducing our carbon emissions.”

AO has already been taking steps to improve its sustainability efforts, including designing a “mega trailer” which is the largest box on the UK roads. Ashwell said these moving floor, moving roof, double decker trailers improve efficiency by 18%. Ashwell added he would also like to introduce solar panels on his fleet in the future, if the right technology becomes available.

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