DHL Freight and Volvo Trucks have joined forces to launch the first pilot tests of a fully electric Volvo FH truck with gross combination weights up to 60 tonnes.
Starting in March, the truck will operate between two DHL Freight logistics terminals in Sweden, a distance of approximately 150km (93 miles).
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 aim to help optimise the right balance between operated distance, load weight and charging points in daily road freight operations.
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.”
Volvo Trucks says it is driving the necessary shift towards fossil free road transport by considering every aspect of the eco-system for electrification, including charging, route planning, vehicles, service and other support.
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 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 it to customer needs and their type of transport operation.”
DHL Freight is actively driving various sustainability and fossil-free technology projects and has introduced a climate-focused shipping programme in Sweden.
Customers using the programme 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.
“The logistics sector is facing a huge challenge, which also offers a great opportunity at the same time – the decarbonisation of freight transportation,” said Robert Zander, CEO of DHL Freight Sweden.
“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.”
The Volvo FL Electric and Volvo FE Electric trucks, for city distribution, are already in serial production.
DHL Supply Chain recently put a new Volvo FL Electric into operation in London – 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.
“Our commitment is that our entire truck sales range will be fossil-free by 2040 at the latest,” concludes Alm.
The DHL-Volvo project will start in the first quarter of 2021, and is part of REEL, an initiative run by Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova to promote the transition to an electrified freight transport system.