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700+ electric vans: DPD identifies delivery routes that can be electrified

One of Britain’s leading logistics companies is leading the charge towards electric vehicles, with more than 10% of its fleet now zero emission.

DPD, wholly owned by France’s La Poste, has more than 700 electric vans on its fleet and is delivering more than 1 million parcels per month via all-electric vehicles for clients such as Amazon, Apple and IKEA.

The delivery firm’s switch to electric power has been rapid – at the start of this year the company had 130 EVs, but major orders with Nissan for 300 eNV200 vans and MAN for 100 eTGE vans have accelerated the transition.

Identifying serviceable routes

A significant proportion of DPD’s workforce are self-employed owner-drivers, who wear DPD uniforms and drive vans with DPD liveries. The company has identified delivery routes that could be serviced by an EV on a single battery charge and is then offering the drivers of these routes the option to lease an EV.

Olly Craughan, DPD head of CSR, said leasing made an EV affordable to drivers who could not afford the substantially higher acquisition price of an electric van compared to a diesel van. Drivers then make savings thanks to the cheaper cost of electricity compared to diesel.

“Typically the wholelife cost is relatively similar between an electric and diesel van thanks to the fuel savings,” said Craughan.

Charging at home

DPD is also subsidising the cost for drivers to install a charge point at home, matching the UK Government grant of £350 per charger, so drivers can benefit from a total £700 subsidy towards a domestic charger.

The company is installing chargers at its depots and has an agreement that gives drivers access to the Podpoint public network of chargers. DPD is also offering drivers training in how to optimise the performance of an EV, which has significantly extended the range of many vans.

Positive driver reaction

“Drivers love the EVs. The vans are automatic so there are no gear changes, which is great in a stop-start urban environment, and they’re much quieter than diesel vans,” said Craughan. “Drivers are also taking pride in driving vehicles that help climate change and avoid local air pollution, and they like the reaction they get on the doorstep.”

Electric micro-depots

From a business perspective, DPD has opened new depots that shorten the commute to drivers’ homes, so less range is expended on the drive to and from the depot. It is also in the process of opening all-electric micro parcel depots, starting in London, before expanding nationwide. These micro-depots receive parcels via electric Fuso eCanter 7.5t trucks, and final mile deliveries are then made by all-electric vehicles including e-cargo bikes.

While the company is rigorously testing new electric commercial vehicles, including the new LEVC VN5 and Vauxhall e-Vivaro for range, payload and load volume to assess real world performance, it is desperate to see manufacturers bring to market a viable 3.5-tonne EV ‘diesel killer’.

Dwain McDonald, DPD’s CEO, said: “We are calling on the government and the vehicle manufacturers to do everything they can to encourage the development of more EVs, at affordable prices, so that progressive companies, like us, can become even greener, even quicker.”

Next year DPD is due to start trials of the Volta Zero, the world’s first purpose-built full-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle.

Source: Fleet Europe

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