UK first – southern England funeral branches to use all-electric hearse

Ahead of the all-important climate summit in Glasgow next week, one funeral provider in Hampshire has taken delivery of the UK’s first fully electric Tesla-based hearse, according to the Hampshire Daily Echo.

The electric-powered vehicle will be used by the regional Co-operative services provider, Southern Co-op, which operates just under funeral branches in the Hampshire, Berkshire, Dorset, Isle of Wight, Somerset, Sussex, Surrey and Wiltshire areas. The vehicle is a Wisper, based on the Tesla Model S and will be available for use by all the funeral care branches, allowing families to say farewell to their loved ones in a more environmentally friendly way.

The hearse uses state-of-the-art technology and equipment and is completely silent. The vehicle is zero emission and fully electric, with a 220-mile single-charge range capability. The hearse will be charged at the Southern Co-op sites using electricity from renewable sources.

Cause to celebrate

Steve Pearce, Southern Co-op’s 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.”

Other ways you can make death more environmentally friendly

Other environmentally friendly funeral options are:

  • Direct cremations where there is no memorial or funeral service, so no car journeys, flowers or burials
  • Green ‘burial’ at a woodland burial site in in a biodegradable coffin
  • Minimal coffins without brass fittings etc, created from Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood. Pine and willow are good choices. Steer clear of MDF.
  • Mushroom suits – the actor Luke Perry was laid to rest in a ‘mushroom’ suit, an outfit that encourages eco-friendly decomposition of the body and stimulates the growth of wild mushrooms. (Not yet available in the UK.)
  • Biodegradable urns – urns that are made from biodegradable material where your remains are stored with the seedlings of your choice. The urn is then buried and a tree grows from the remains.
  • Asking for donations in lieu of flowers
  • Donating your body to medical science so that it can be used to train future medical professionals.


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