In Rillieux-la-Pape, north of Lyon, SRP Polyservices specializes in urban and industrial cleaning. Active throughout the region, it is responsible in particular for the cleanliness of the roads in the Metropolis of Lyon. By winning this major contract, SRP Polyservices has chosen the eSprinter, the electric van from Mercedes-Benz. David Calois, Operations Manager at SRP Polyservices, talks about the company’s commitment to electric mobility and the excellent performance of these vehicles.
When did SRP Polyservices become interested in low-emission vehicles?
David Calois: Already in 2011, we tested the technology with a Goupil hybrid utility vehicle, then a second 100% electric one. Four years later, we invested in an electric tricycle for maintaining the banks of the Rhône, and equipped our employees with Zoé company vehicles in 2019. Last year, we acquired a Renault Master ZE who finally convinced us that the electric was also valid for our urban and peri-urban activities. This is how we launched the call for tenders and chose Mercedes.
What is the size of the SRP Polyservices fleet to date?
CD: We have about 140 vehicles, half of which are electric. The latest acquisition is therefore the 57 eSprinter used to transport teams and small road cleaning equipment: road-mending trolleys, shovels, brooms, blowers, waste grabbers, etc. After their rounds throughout the Lyon metropolitan area, our employees also load the bags of waste or bulky items there to transport them to the drop-off points.
Why did you choose the eSprinter for your activities?
CD: This electric van has a little more autonomy than the Master ZE and, above all, its energy recovery mode during the journey is very interesting for urban and peri-urban routes. Our vehicles run twice a day and don’t have time to be fully charged between two rounds, so optimizing range is a key point. In addition, the height of the eSprinter allows standing on it, which is more comfortable for our teams when loading and unloading. This all adds up, of course, to an attractive business proposition from Mercedes.
Are you satisfied with the performance of your electric vans?
D.C.: The eSprinters have been running in Lyon since the end of July and we are very happy with them. Of course, a little more autonomy would be appreciated, but we have trained all our teams in eco-driving in order to optimize their performance. It is thanks to this training that we were able to avoid the pitfalls when switching to thermal vehicles. And the drivers are happy, because the vehicles are beautiful, comfortable and convey a positive image of the profession.
In your opinion, what would be the points of improvement to be made to the offer of electric vehicles to generalize it to all of your activity?
D.C.: The two main points are range and charging infrastructure. At the moment we can only use the electric utilities for a very local activity, with a return to depot for each charge. But cleaning jobs involve a lot of driving, and when, for example, you have to work in the mountains, you can’t take the risk of driving electric because of the lack of autonomy. For service vehicles, the problem is that employees do not always have enough to charge an electric vehicle at home, as this requires specific arrangements. So for local activities, electric is perfect, and for the rest, we are in the process of renewing our diesel fleet with petrol or hybrid vehicles.
What are SRP Polyservices’ plans for electric vehicles?
D.C.: We will continue, whenever the conditions are met, to replace the old utilities with electric vans. In any case, our charging infrastructure has been designed to accommodate more electric vehicles. This will depend on the commercial opportunities that will arise in the region.
About SRP Polyservices:
15.4 million euros in turnover
2 agencies in 69 and 74