THE UK’s first fully electric Tesla-based hearse is set to make its debut in Hampshire

The electric-powered hearse will be delivered to a regional co-operative services provider.

Southern Co-op, which operates just under 60 funeral branches across Hampshire, Berkshire, Dorset, the Isle of Wight, Somerset, Surrey, Sussex and Wiltshire, has taken delivery of the new, ground-breaking Wisper based on the Tesla Model S.

The hearse will be available at all The Co-operative Funeralcare branches run by Southern Co-op and will enable families to say goodbye to their loved ones in a more environmentally responsible way.

With state-of-the-art technology and equipment, the entirely silent hearse is zero-emission with full electric operation, measuring around 5.8m in length and has a 220-mile single-charge range capability powered at Southern Co-op sites using electricity from renewable sources.

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.

“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.”

Mark Smith, chief executive at Southern Co-op, said: “It’s important that we all work together to tackle climate change, so we are delighted to now be able to offer our customers the choice of a more environmentally favourable funeral fleet and to take the next step on our sustainability journey together.

“The appetite for change is there within our communities so, by making it easier for loved ones to make more informed choices, people can play their part in making a positive difference to our environment and our communities.”