Last-mile delivery is a perfect use case for EVs, but fleet operators (understandably) tend to insist on lengthy real-world pilots before placing substantial orders. The latest delivery giant to move from testing to deployment is DHL Express, which wrapped up a successful pilot program using nine Lightning Electric Ford Transit 350HD electric vans in the US late last year, and now plans to deploy another 89 EVs this year in New York and California.
DHL’s new EVs, built by Colorado-based Lightning eMotors, are capable of achieving 61 MPGe, compared to 13 MPG for similar gas-powered vans. They include Lightning’s proprietary telematics and analytics software, which is designed to aid with route optimization, driver training and vehicle efficiencies. DHL has also purchased DC fast chargers from the EV-maker’s Lightning Energy division.
DHL’s parent company, Deutsche Post DHL Group, recently announced an accelerated roadmap to decarbonization, which includes 7 billion euros in investment over the next 10 years to reduce CO2 emissions. Among other electrification projects, DHL has begun a pilot of four electric tractor-trailer vehicles in the Los Angeles market, to haul goods to and from the DHL LAX Gateway and local service centers.
“We’re aiming to improve the lives of people where they live and work, using clean pickup and delivery solutions—such as electric vehicles and cargo cycles—for our first- and last-mile services,” said DHL Express US CEO Greg Hewitt. “With the successful deployment of the first nine pilot vehicles, we are excited to expand our electric delivery van footprint and continue to drive forward our corporate roadmap to decarbonization.”
“These new electric vans are designed to better serve DHL customers and help couriers to more efficiently and effectively deliver packages,” said Tim Reeser, CEO of Lightning eMotors. “At the same time, they are helping DHL to meet its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve urban air quality, as well as reduce noise on the streets.”