DHL begins operating UK’s first electric 16-tonne truck

DHL begins operating UK’s first electric 16-tonne truck

DHL has announced that it has begun operating the first purpose-built fully-electric 16-tonne road freight vehicle in the UK.

The Volvo FL Electric 4x2 rigid is now part of DHL Supply Chain’s fleet in London, making last-mile deliveries into the West End shopping district.

The vehicle is powered by four 200 kWh batteries that can run for 190km (120 miles), carrying a maximum of 12 pallets weighing up to 6 tonnes.

“It will recharge overnight at DHL’s base in Purfleet for daily operations into the city centre,” DHL said. As well as being a zero-emission vehicle, it “will also be 3-star compliant to the London Direct Vision Standard having great all-round visibility and supporting the safety of all London’s road users”.  

The company said its “investment in industry leading vehicles reflects DHL’s commitment to ensuring its fleet is best in class and offers the highest possible levels of service to its supply chain customers, as well as reflecting DHL’s own ambitious Go Green agenda”.

Ian Clough, managing director for Network Logistics and Transport, UK & Ireland, at DHL Supply Chain, commented: “The Volvo FL Electric is the perfect solution to the challenges of urban logistics, allowing us to make deliveries in densely populated inner-city locations where air quality and noise pollution challenges are highest.

“As the market leader in contract logistics, and part of the world’s largest logistics group, we have a responsibility to reach for ambitious sustainability targets as we deliver best in class solutions for our customers. Our investment in the UK’s first operational fully-electric large commercial vehicle is another example of how we are doing that.” 

According to research conducted on behalf of DHL among transport decision makers, ground transport is moving away from its traditional role as a commodity towards becoming a business differentiator: 71% believe it is a strategic component of their business, and 75% agree that investment in this area will directly support growth. As a result, DHL said it “is investing in areas that matter most to customers and society at large”.

Christian Coolsaet, managing director of Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland, said: “Operating a Volvo FL Electric, particularly where it can be charged with electricity from renewable sources, is a powerful step towards more sustainable city distribution. We are confident this new addition to DHL’s fleet will help to improve air quality and reduce traffic noise; and since it produces no tail-pipe exhaust emissions, it is perfect for operation within London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone.”


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