DHL Starts Using Electric Trucks in Europe

DHL Volvo FH

DHL and Volvo Trucks have partnered to speed up the introduction of heavy duty electric trucks to be used for regional transport in Europe.

So far, the main use of electric trucks has been for shorter distances within cities and urban areas. Now DHL Freight and Volvo Trucks have initiated a project focusing on long distance heavy transports.

The cooperation includes exclusive, worldwide first pilot tests of the fully electric Volvo FH truck. Its gross combination weights are up to 60 tons.

DHL electric truck

Testing

The truck operates between two DHL Freight logistics terminals in Sweden. This is a distance of approximately 150 km one way. During the trial, Volvo and DHL gain important experience and information regarding the ranges and thus the setup and operation of an adequate charging infrastructure.

This will help to optimize the right balance between operated distance, load weight and charging points in daily road freight operations. DHL Freight is actively working, along with Volvo Trucks, on the reduction of their ecological footprint. Sustainability forms an integral part of the company’s strategy.

Long-haul electric trucks like the Volvo FH here use the same chassis and running gear as conventional trucks, only instead of a diesel drivetrain they are fitted with an electric one powered by lithium-ion batteries.

Durability

Given they share the same chassis and running gear as conventional trucks, long-haul electric trucks should have approximately the same lifespan. Lithium-ion batteries do degrade over time, however. Typically, a lithium-ion battery will last for eight years or 100,000 miles. Nevertheless, as technology improves this threshold is being pushed back and replacement batteries are becoming cheaper.

Compared to other alternative drivetrains such as fuel cells and/or hydrogen, electric drivetrains are very efficient. As a result, long haul trucks of the type being tested can cover hundreds of miles between charges.

“Our aim is to reduce all logistics-related emissions to zero. Important milestones have already been achieved in meeting this: compared to 2007, our Group’s CO2 efficiency has improved by 35%,” says Uwe Brinks, CEO at DHL Freight.

“However, we need innovative technological solutions and strong partnerships along this journey. I’m confident that our strong cooperation with Volvo Trucks, one of the major truck brands in the world, will support us in achieving our ambitious environmental goals in the road freight sector.”

Volvo Trucks is making the transition to electrification as seamless and efficient as possible. This is done by considering every aspect of the eco-system for electrification, including charging, route planning, vehicles, service and other support.

DHL Freight is actively driving various sustainability and fossil-free technology projects and has introduced a climate-friendly shipping program in Sweden. Customers using the program pay a fixed surcharge for every parcel or pallet shipped. The income generated from the surcharges is fully invested in clean technologies within the Swedish network.

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