DHL currently has two trucks in operation in California and will soon take delivery of an additional 11 units for use in other states.  -  Photo: DHL

DHL currently has two trucks in operation in California and will soon take delivery of an additional 11 units for use in other states.

Photo: DHL

DHL Supply Chain is deploying its first Class 8 electric trucks in North America, calling it a significant milestone in its commitment to clean and efficient trucking operations.

DHL currently has two trucks in operation in California and in the coming weeks will take delivery of 11 more, to be deployed across Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and California.

DHL: BEV Trucks Offer Operational Advantages

DHL said its electric trucks offer advantages including the following:

  • Zero tailpipe emissions: Electric vehicles are considered zero-emission technology, which means they do not produce any tailpipe carbon dioxide or nitrogen oxide emissions. Each EV that replaces a diesel truck saves, on average, 100 tons of CO2 annually.
  • Energy conservation: A six-month DHL Supply Chain pilot of a Class 8 EV truck revealed that the truck consumed on average 50% less energy for the same job compared to its diesel counterpart.
  • Extended range: The EV trucks get up to 250 miles on a single charge, covering the needs of many regional haul routes.
  • Right-sized charging: Equipped with fast-charging technology and remote monitoring capabilities, the EV trucks enable turnaround times that are aligned with DHL's operational requirements.
  • Powerful performance: The EV trucks deliver superior horsepower and torque compared to their diesel counterparts, according to DHL
  • Improved driver satisfaction: During the pilot, drivers shared a preference for the BEV truck over diesel due to its ‘quietness’ and low to no vibrations, leading to less fatigue.

"Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond reducing our environmental impact," said Jim Monkmeyer, president of transportation, DHL Supply Chain.

"We see electric trucks as a strategic investment that offers numerous advantages for our company and the communities we serve. From improved efficiency and a better driving experience, to reduced air and noise pollution, electric trucks are the future of transportation."

Fueling Green Innovation

DHL said it has been an early adopter of EV technology, having deployed more than 30,000 light- to-heavy duty EVs worldwide.

By being an early adopter, the company said, DHL Supply Chain has been able to pilot and learn how best to implement green technologies to enhance productivity and improve operational efficiencies.

In 2023 it added 30 new electric yard trucks, totaling 60 vehicles currently in operation in North America. The company has also continued phasing out propane-powered material handling equipment such as forklifts, replacing them with electric ones.

“We’re building a comprehensive ecosystem around green technologies to support seamless operation, including right-sized charging infrastructure at our facilities and a dedicated team of experts driving continuous improvement," Monkmeyer said.

"This is not just a truck. It's a system, a symbol of our commitment to creating a cleaner, more efficient, and more sustainable transportation landscape."

DHL's Global Sustainability

The addition of electric trucks to its North America fleet follows the announcement of DHL Supply Chain’s global Green Transport Policy aimed at reducing carbon emissions in line with DHL Group’s Sustainability Roadmap. As an initial move, DHL Supply Chain will transition around 2,000 vehicles globally from conventional combustion engines to greener alternatives, including hydrotreated vegetable oil, biogas, electric, or hydrogen.

Over the next three years, DHL Supply Chain's commitment to an additional investment of 200 million euros in fossil fuel alternatives promises to reduce nearly 300,000 tons of CO2 emissions. These savings are equivalent to offsetting the CO2 emissions produced by 2,200 trucks, each driving a daily distance of 500 kilometers over one year.

The new policy is starting with investments in 17 countries with the highest emissions footprint.

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