Sheffield ice cream company Cuneo's unveils first electric van as fuel prices soar

A Sheffield ice cream company has unveiled its first electric van - as fuel price hikes threaten the business.

Monday, 20th June 2022, 4:43 pm

Cuneo’s spent £8,000 having machinery converted in a vehicle parked in the Peace Gardens.

The move comes ahead of a Clean Air Zone in the city centre and a predicted wider clampdown on emissions.

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Cuneo’s spent £8,000 converting machinery to electric power in a vehicle operating in the Peace Gardens.

Boss Andrew Cuneo says the cost of fuel for the firm’s five other vans has doubled since February - while sales are down 70 per cent on a normal year - and the business is ‘just hanging on’.

He said: “To us, fuel prices are another pandemic. People haven’t got the money, they are paying in coppers. But prices are going to have to go up.

“We’re fighters and I’m not planning to quit, but it could get that way.”

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The vehicle is plugged in.

The conversion means the ice cream maker, slush machine and freezers run on electricity. Previously the diesel engine had to run all day.

Mr Cuneo said they now ‘met or exceeded’ government and council specifications.

He intended to have the other vans converted when the authority installed electricity at other sites, including at the bottom of Fargate, he added.

But boss Andrew Cuneo says the cost of fuel for the firm’s five other vans has doubled since February - while sales are down 70 per cent on a normal year - and the business is ‘just hanging on’.

Earlier this year the firm lost pitches in Endcliffe and Weston parks, leading to two redundancies and the sale of two vans.

The Clean Air Zone will be implemented in 2023, ‘at the earliest’. It will charge taxis, vans, buses, coaches and lorries - with engines more polluting than the Euro 6 diesel or Euro 4 petrol emission standard - to drive into the city centre or use the inner ring road.

Cuneo's sold two vans and made two redundant after losing this Endcliffe Park pitch and one in Weston Park. They are now run by rivals.

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