Southern Co-op introduces UK’s first fully electric Tesla-based hearse

The emission-free electric vehicle will be recharged by the co-op using renewable electricity

Southern Co-op is promised greener funerals after adding the UK’s first fully electric Tesla based hearse to its fleet.

The society, which operates nearly 60 funeral branches in Berkshire, Dorset, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Somerset, Surrey, Sussex and Wiltshire, has taken delivery of the newly developed Wisper vehicle, based on the Tesla Model S.

The hearse – available at all Co-operative Funeralcare branches run by Southern, is silent, fully electric and emission-free, measures around 5.8m in length and has a 220-mile single-charge range capability powered at Southern Co-op sites using renewable electricity.

Steve Pearce, Southerns 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.”

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.

Chief executive Mark Smith 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-ased 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.