In its Antwerp hub, DHL Belgium took delivery of its first batch of electric vans. It’s the first step in the company’s goal to deploy an entire zero-emission fleet by 2030. The choice for the Ford e-Transit is no coincidence. DHL was a partner during the product development phase.
The hundred zero-emission e-Transit models won’t operate exclusively from Antwerp. They will be allocated to five company depots in the Flemish region. Though the all-electric e-Transit can cover more than 300 kilometers according to WLTP, they will serve along the shorter planned routes, with a maximum of 160 kilometers.
It’s been the world’s best-selling van for decades. In May last year, we drove Ford’s big van, equipped with a 67 kWh battery pack. This charges in 7,2 hours at one of the 11 kW chargers that Shell Recharge installed at the hubs from DHL. There are 90 of them in total, spread over different bases.
The goal is that the vans return to the hubs for charging overnight. The applied infrastructure can then be used by the electric company cars from the DHL employees. Making them public is under examination.
This is a prerequisite in Belgium if companies want to apply for a 200% tax reduction on the installation. This incentive was recently prolonged, but only to the end of this month. As for electric vans, there are no specific subsidies.
The choice for the Ford e-Transit comes from an earlier partnership. The corporate office from DHL in Florida stepped into a development collaboration with Ford Pro (for ‘productivity’). That’s the new ecosystem that allows companies to have the whole fleet connected and integrated, charged, and monitored remotely, whether it wears a Ford badge or not.
The carmaker often works closely with target groups to improve a vehicle’s functionality. The customer feedback from DHL resulted in adaptions for the goods compartment and meeting specific charging requirements.
Zero-emission fleet in 2030
The delivery of the first hundred electric vans means that the Belgian delivery fleet of DHL is now zero-emission for one-third. The goal is to double that by 2025 and reach full electrification by the decade’s end.
As such, DHL Belgium is accelerating on the targets set by its headquarters, which intends to reach the lower target of 60% zero-emission vehicles by 2030. Twenty years later, the company wants to operate at net zero. When DHL announced this goal in 2017, it was the first logistics company in the world to set zero-emission targets.
The inauguration of the battery-powered fleet was witnessed by Flemish Minister of Mobility Lydia Peeters (Open Vld) and the Alderman of Mobility in Antwerp, Koen Kennis (N-VA). Peeters called DHL an exemplar in the logistics sector. Asked how charging infrastructure can support further uptake of electric vans, she referred to her plans of installing 35 000 public charging points by 2025.
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