DHL tests Volvo electric truck to cut emissions
DHL Freight and Volvo Trucks have partnered to speed up the introduction of heavy duty electric trucks in a drive to reduce emissions for long-distance transportation.
The combined effort marks another important step towards climate neutral transport solutions for regional freight transport in Europe, according to the two companies. 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 longer distance heavy transports. The cooperation includes exclusive, worldwide first pilot tests of a fully electric Volvo FH truck with gross combination weights up to 60 tons.
150km test route
Starting in March, the truck will operate between the DHL Freight logistics terminals in Gothenburg and Jönköping, which are about 150km apart. The project is part of REEL, an initiative run by Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova to promote the transition to an electrified freight transport system.
During the trial, Volvo and DHL will gain important experience and information regarding the setup and operation of an adequate charging infrastructure. The collected insights will help to optimize the right balance between operated distance, load weight and charging points in daily road freight operations.
DHL is actively working, along with Volvo Trucks, on the reduction of their ecological footprint, with sustainability being an integral part of the company’s strategy.
Uwe Brinks, CEO at DHL Freight, said: “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%.
“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.”
Green shipping programme
In Sweden, DHL Freight is already actively driving various sustainability and fossil-free technology projects and has introduced a climate-friendly shipping program. Customers using the program pay a fixed surcharge for every parcel or pallet shipped and the income generated from the surcharges is fully invested in clean technologies within the Swedish network.
Robert Zander, CEO of DHL Freight Sweden, commented: “The logistics sector is facing a huge challenge, which also offers a great opportunity at the same time – the decarbonization of freight transportation. The collaboration with Volvo Trucks helps DHL Freight to play an even bigger role in the transition to sustainable alternatives and is another significant proof point for our long-term strategy towards climate-neutral transportation.”
Volvo expands electric truck range
For its part, Volvo Trucks is driving the necessary shift towards fossil free transports by 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.
Already today, the Volvo FL Electric and Volvo FE Electric trucks for city distribution are in serial production. DHL Supply Chain recently put a new Volvo FL Electric into operation in London, thereby introducing the first purpose-built fully electric Volvo truck for city distribution in the UK. At the end of last year, Volvo Trucks in North America started sales of the VNR Electric and this year will mark the sales start in Europe of the heavy-duty electric product range.
Roger Alm, President at Volvo Trucks, explained: “The transport business is changing rapidly and to be sustainable is an increasingly important business advantage for many of our customers. We offer effective transport solutions that help make a fast transition to fossil-free fuels such as electricity. Our commitment is that our entire truck sales range will be fossil-free by 2040 at the latest.”
Commenting on the test project, Alm added: “We have a longstanding relationship with DHL. Their broad and global expertise in logistics allows us to study the conditions to progress with this technology shift, adapting to customer needs and their type of transport operation."