BLANC has already acquired two of the battery-powered vans from Rossetts Commercials, and will return to the same Dealer for another couple before the end of the year. Its first, French-built electric vehicle, which is smaller so less practical, will make way for a fifth Mercedes-Benz as soon as possible thereafter.
Describing itself as “a natural artisan dry cleaner, tailor and launderer”, BLANC operates from award-winning outlets in Chelsea, Marylebone, Notting Hill and South Kensington. The company’s vans transport garments between these stores and its large atelier, or cleaning centre, in Acton. They are also used to make home deliveries.
Ludovic Blanc, a former JP Morgan vice-president, quit banking to study French eco-launderettes before launching his own business in 2013. “Conventional dry cleaning is neither dry nor clean,” he asserted, “because the process entails soaking garments in solvent-based cleaners.
“BLANC, by contrast, cleans all clothes, even the most delicate, in a healthy, natural and sustainable way. We rely on healthier, biodegradable detergents instead of traditionally used chemicals, which are extremely toxic.”
Introduced late last year, the 3.5-tonne eSprinter is powered by a 114 hp electric motor that drives the front wheels. It will travel 95 miles (combined WLTP with 80 km/h speed limiter) on a single charge, which is ample for the majority of urban delivery and last mile applications; recuperative energy recovered when decelerating supplements the batteries’ output.
The 55 kWh high-voltage battery pack is securely mounted beneath the vehicle’s body, so does not impinge on the cargo area. As a result, the high-roofed, medium-length L2 eSprinter’s 11m3 volume carrying capacity is identical to its diesel-engined, front-wheel drive stablemate, and half a cubic metre larger than its rear-wheel drive equivalent.
Key to the eSprinter’s appeal for BLANC is the 2,079 mm height of its load bay. Head of Operations Evan Charalampous explained: “We clean a lot of longer garments, particularly evening dresses. Its high roof means these can be transported on rails in the eSprinter, something it’s not possible to do in smaller electric vans. The Mercedes-Benz vehicle’s cargo space therefore allows us to run a distribution operation that is efficient as well as sustainable.”