Parcel Services Embrace Electric Delivery in a Growing Trend

Parcel services are increasingly delivering electrically, but the changeover takes time

Parcel services are slowly transitioning to electric vehicles, with DHL using battery-electric trucks in the greater Berlin area. Last-mile delivery has seen significant progress, with DHL reporting that around 50% of its own parcel deliveries in Germany are electric. The industry, however, faces challenges in adopting alternative drives for longer routes, as the acquisition costs for sustainable alternatives are still much higher compared to conventional diesel vans. Additionally, there is a lack of infrastructure, especially on long-haul routes. Biofuels, while available, are seen as an interim solution due to their higher greenhouse gas emissions compared to other alternatives. Manufacturers are looking to hydrogen as a solution for long distances and heavy trucks, but the availability of vehicles and hydrogen infrastructure is still lacking. Despite these challenges, the industry remains open to testing and using innovative concepts that promote climate-friendly logistics. Gradually, more electric trucks, such as the 13 new DHL electric trucks in Berlin, are being adopted. Furthermore, pilot projects with overhead lines installed on motorways are being tested to enable fully electric truck travel. Shifting parcel transport to rail is also seen as a potential solution. Some companies, however, have expressed a desire for more predictability and future security in terms of technology and political conditions, to allow for better adjustment by producers and suppliers.

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