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DPD and UPS expand electric vehicle fleets

DPD and UPS are both expanding their electric vehicle fleets as sustainability becomes a major battleground for carriers.

DPD will take delivery of 300 Nissan electric vehicles by May, taking its fleet to 450 vehicles. The carrier has a target of 500 electric vehicles by the end of the year, which it now hopes to exceed.

The Nissan e-NV200 can cover 124-187 miles on a single charge with 4.2 square metres of load space.

Dwain McDonald, DPD’s CEO commented, “This is a real landmark day in the move to a more sustainable future for the parcel industry.  These vehicles are changing the way we work.  It isn’t just a case of plugging them in and saying, ‘job done’.

“We are rethinking and re-engineering how we deliver parcels now and in the future with different route networks and new types of depots.  It is an all-encompassing revolution for our industry and electric, emission-free vehicles are at the heart of that vision.

“Credit to Nissan who have stepped up and made affordable righthand drive vehicles available in significant numbers, but we can take far more, if other manufacturers do the same.  These vehicles have been proven in the one of the harshest environments.

“They are quiet, reliable and they get the job done for us, day in, day out.  This enables us to say to more and more customers, ‘we’re delivering your parcels emission-free’, which is a key selling point when we are talking to retailers.”

Meanwhile, UPS has invested in an electric vehicle manufacturer called Arrival, committing to buying 10,000 of its vehicles.

The electric vehicles will be co-designed by the two companies and purpose-built for UPS specifications. They include advanced driver assistance systems, set to be tested later this year, which may allow them to move autonomously in UPS depots.

Arrival is a UK-based manufacturer of what it calls “Generation 2” electric vehicles, which are designed from the ground up to support electric propulsion, as opposed to being fossil fuel vehicles retrofitted with electric power. The vehicles can be assembled by “microfactories”, which are designed to be low footprint and located in areas of high demand.

The firm has also received investment from Hyundai and Kia.

Juan Perez, UPS chief information and engineering officer, said: “UPS continues to build an integrated fleet of electric vehicles, combined with innovative, large-scale fleet charging technology.

“As mega-trends like population growth, urban migration, and e-commerce continue to accelerate, we recognise the need to work with partners around the world to solve both road congestion and pollution challenges for our customers and the communities we serve. Electric vehicles form a cornerstone to our sustainable urban delivery strategies. Taking an active investment role in Arrival enables UPS to collaborate on the design and production of the world’s most advanced electric delivery vehicles.”

Carlton Rose, president of UPS Global Fleet Maintenance & Engineering, said: “Our investment and partnership with Arrival is directly aligned with UPS’s transformation strategy, led by the deployment of cutting-edge technologies.

“These vehicles are the world’s most advanced package delivery vehicles, redefining industry standards for electric, connected and intelligent vehicle solutions.”

Denis Sverdlov, Arrival chief executive, said: “UPS has been a strong strategic partner of Arrival’s, providing valuable insight into how electric delivery vans are used on the road and, importantly, how they can be completely optimised for drivers.

“Together, our teams have been working hard to create bespoke electric vehicles, based on our flexible skateboard platforms that meet the end-to-end needs of UPS from driving, loading/unloading and back-office operations. We are pleased that today’s investment and vehicle order creates even closer ties between our two companies.”