When founder Steve Evans was based in China, running a mobile-texting business with co-founder Barry Coleman, the pair couldn’t help but notice how the growing manufacturing industry was negatively affecting traffic, pollution levels and air-quality across the country.

We’re not necessarily talking from the factories and producers alone, but from the hundreds of lorries making deliveries to and from the factories. Dependant on an inconsistent flux of demand, drivers of these lorries would regularly be parked for long periods waiting for their next job.

After returning to live in central London, Steve became increasingly aware of a similar problem in the UK capital.

London’s air is killing people

“I had just moved from Richmond on the edge of London which has lots of greenery, to Elephant and Castle which is right in the middle of London on a busy road,” he tells us.

“I saw all the emissions regulations were coming in and I could see the pollution outside of my window and I thought, the thing we’ve got to do is to build an emission-free transport system.

“The fact is, London’s air is killing people. Nine thousand people per year die from toxic air and the average Londoners life span is reduced by six months.”

Clean air deliveries

Spurred on by what he had seen both in China and the UK, Steve set up XeroE and started his mission with London’s business courier services.

In London, courier requests and deliveries are made thousands of times a day by the capital’s thriving businesses. The problem is that, if you’re committed to making greener choices, it’s incredibly difficult to book an emission-free delivery – by an electric van or cargo bike for example.

“Imagine we have an ethical person who wants to book an emission-free delivery”, Steve explains.

“How do they send the box across town emission-free? At the moment, they’d have to ring up hundreds of courier companies to try and find an emission-free vehicle.

“Whilst each company might have a fleet of between ten and two hundred vehicles, they’ll only have two or three that are actually emission-free. So it could take dozens of phone calls before they found someone who could make that type of delivery.

“The XeroE app collects all these different emission-free vehicles and drivers and puts them in one place. So when someone wants to actually book an emission-free delivery they can, because one of these somewhere is going to be available.”

Not only does this mean fewer deliveries in London will be contributing to lung choking air pollution, but the app has the potential to increase earnings and productivity for emission-free vehicle drivers too, most of whom are self-employed.

Boosting research

Making emission-free courier booking easier than ever is just the start. With London now home to some of the world’s strictest traffic emissions regulations – such as the ultra-low emission zone – and companies facing ever greater pressure to offset their carbon emissions, businesses need more reliable ways to track and reduce their impact on the environment.

XeroE has partnered with Imperial College to develop an algorithm that enables the team to track CO2 and NOX savings, plus the savings to the NHS and the extension to the average Londoner’s life as a result of each journey within the app.

We want to become the leading 100% emission-free transport service

When development of the algorithm is complete, businesses using XeroE will be able to promote their green credentials by reporting on their impact via the app.

“More importantly, companies can share this with their staff”, Steve adds. “Because their staff who work in central London have to commute in through all that polluted air. They are the ones who are being poisoned the most.”

Green transport

XeroE will be running a trial with five London-based companies in August. However, Steve’s got more than London’s courier services in his sights.

“We want to continue this trial with seven or eight UK cities that are following London in terms of the regulations they’re bringing in, such as Oxford, Bath and Bristol,” he explains. “After that, we plan to expand to European cities such as Paris, Madrid and Berlin which are very keen on reducing their emissions.”

“We eventually would like to branch out to include electric taxis in the XeroE app, as an emission-free alternative to private transport in cities.

“Ultimately we want XeroE to play a major role in improving air quality by becoming the world’s leading 100% emission-free transport service.”

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