Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Express Freight and Home Shopping Boosts Electric Vehicle Delivery Sector

Major Logistics Group Supports 'Carbon Free' City
Shipping News Feature

GERMANY – Today’s announcement from Deutsche Post DHL that it is to exchange all its conventionally fuelled delivery vehicles for electric powered units in the city of Bonn and surrounds hides another bigger story showing how efforts to revolutionise all urban transport is likely to move forward in the foreseeable future. For an outfit such as Deutsche Post DHL which mainly carries small, express freight consignments to inner city and industrial areas the concept of small, pollution free, cheap to run delivery vehicles makes absolute sense.

For its part the German postal giant has seen its own relatively poor financials buoyed by a rise in home shopping, a market which appears to be persistently growing across the world and one suited to exactly the type of vehicle Deutsche Post DHL has opted for. Supported by the German government's electromobility programme the announcement to pursue the carbon-free vehicle concept for Bonn was made jointly by the company, German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier and the mayor of Bonn, Jürgen Nimptsch.

Our photograph shows a development of the ‘Streetscooter’ concept specifically designed for DHL. Streetscooter GMBH was conceived after Prof. Dr.-Ing Günther Schuh, Chair of Production Engineering at RWTH Aachen University targeted affordable electrically powered vehicles as a logical progression prompting a privately funded initiative to produce a viable concept vehicle. A group of twenty companies joined the venture growing into a collaboration between small enterprises and research institutions to build a vehicle ideally suited to urban traffic patterns.

The Streetscooter developed for use by Deutsche Post DHL has a range of up to 120 kilometres (during the daily postal routine max. 80 km), it is ideal for use in the combined delivery of mail and parcels. An initial production run of 50 vehicles will be delivered starting in summer of 2013. 20 vehicles will be put into service in the pilot project for carbon-neutral delivery in Bonn and another 30 will be used throughout Germany to transport mail and parcels.

In common with many of the major carriers Deutsche Post DHL is a partner in many alternative drive technology pilot projects including the use of hybrid engines and vehicles powered by electricity, natural gas and biogas, as well as tests of dual fuel and experimentation with aerodynamic modifications to existing vehicles. Jürgen Gerdes, Corporate Board Member MAIL at Deutsche Post DHL, commented:

“The pilot project in Bonn has model character. Focusing on city deliveries, we can lower both environmental and noise pollution, and we will be able to reduce our fuel consumption. As we operate one of the largest vehicle fleets in Germany, we have a particular interest to utilise innovative and eco-friendly vehicles.”

In the initial phase of the Deutsche Post DHL Bonn roll out, 79 vehicles will be put into service for the parcel delivery and the combined mail and parcel delivery sector. The pilot project sees about 141 electric vehicles on the road by 2016, then resulting in decreased CO2 emissions of over 500 tonnes per year. Even at the start of the project, Bonn will already be host to one of the world's largest fleet of electrically powered commercial vehicles for combined delivery.