DHL Freight, Volvo focus on long-distance e-hauling

By Mike Brezonick23 February 2021

DHL and Volvo are cooperating in the testing of a Volvo FH Electric truck being used in a regional haul application.

DHL Freight, one of the leading road freight providers in Europe, and Volvo Trucks have partnered to speed up the introduction of heavy-duty electric trucks to be used for regional transport in Europe.

The cooperation includes exclusive, worldwide first pilot tests of a fully electric Volvo FH truck with gross combination weights up to 60 tons. Starting in March, the truck will operate between two DHL Freight logistics terminals in Sweden, a distance of approximately 150 km. 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.

“Our aim is to reduce all logistics-related emissions to zero,” said says Uwe Brinks, CEO at DHL Freight. “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 said it is working to make the shift from fossil-free transports to electrification as seamless and efficient as possible. This is done by considering every aspect of the ecosystem for electrification, including charging, route planning, vehicles, service and other support.

During the trial, Volvo and DHL will gain experience regarding the setup and operation of an adequate charging infrastructure.

“The transport business is changing rapidly and to be sustainable is an increasingly important business advantage for many of our customers,” said Roger Alm, president at Volvo Trucks. “We offer effective transport solutions that help make a fast transition to fossil-free fuels such as electricity.

“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 program in Sweden. 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.

“The logistics sector is facing a huge challenge, which also offers a great opportunity at the same time – the decarbonization 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.”

Volvo’s FL Electric and 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, thereby introducing the first purpose-built fully electric Volvo truck for city distribution in the U.K.

At the end of last year, Volvo Trucks in North America began sales of the VNR Electric and this year will mark the sales start in Europe for the company’s heavy-duty electric product range.

“Our commitment is that our entire truck sales range will be fossil-free by 2040 at the latest,” Alm said.

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