International express shipper DHL just announced plans to expand its “Green Fleet” in the US. It plans to do so with the help of EV manufacturer Lightning eMotors. After a successful pilot run of nine EV vans, DHL Express will acquire 89 more from Lightning eMotors this year.
DHL’s “Green Fleet” expansion is part of a larger sustainability roadmap launched by the Deutsche Post DHL Group. The mission of the DHL group is to have zero-emissions logistics by 2050.
Overseas, DHL Freight has already teamed up with Volvo Trucks to test delivery routes in Sweden. Last year in the States, DHL Express tested deliveries using nine Ford Transit 350HD vans electrified by Lightning eMotors.
Lightning eMotors is a Colorado-based EV manufacturer that specializes in zero-emissions solutions for commercial fleets. Its team designs, engineers, customizes, and manufactures EVs to support a wide array of fleet customer needs. This includes electric versions of everything from Class 3 cargo vans to Class 8 motorhomes.
DHL’s new Lightning Electric Transit Van
Lightning eMotors’ Electric Van for DHL Express
In a press release from DHL today, the logistics company revealed its plans to deploy an additional 89 Lightning Electric Transit Vans in New York and California this year. That will put the total of vans provided by Lightning eMotors just below 100 total.
These new electric transit cargo vans are capable of achieving 61 MPGe, compared to 13 MPG for similar ICE vans. Lightning eMotors also equips the EVs with proprietary telematics and analytics software. This will aid DHL in its route optimization, driver training, and vehicle efficiencies.
Furthermore, DHL also purchased DC fast chargers from Lightning eMotor’s Lightning Energy division. In the press release, Lightning CEO Tim Reeser said:
These new electric vans are designed to better serve DHL customers and help couriers to more efficiently and effectively deliver packages. At the same time, they are helping DHL to meet its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve urban air quality, as well as reduce noise on the streets.
DHL continues to expand its zero-emissions fleet too. In addition to its purchase from Lightning eMotors, DHL Express’ US fleet already includes other EVs, PHEVs, and e-Cargo Cycles. Furthermore, it is piloting four electric tractor-trailer vehicles to haul goods to and from its DHL LAX Gateway.
100 electric vans are a drop in the bucket for a global logistics company like DHL. However, this agreement with Lightning eMotors is just one of many, and not just in the US, either.
Lightning eMotors should make for a stable partner with DHL that could lead to many more purchases moving forward. As a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) and a part of the eQVM program, Lightning has access and support from Ford to ensure successful system integration. As a result of its QVM status, these electrified transit vans also maintain the Ford warranty. Surely, DHL took this into account, as well.
DHL will now see how the larger fleets perform in major metropolitan areas like New York and California before expanding. Lightning eMotors can certainly provide more EVs but likely doesn’t have the bandwidth to electrify the entire US fleet. DHL may be looking for additional manufacturers later, depending on how quickly it wants to expand the EV fleet.
For now, Lightning eMotors is DHL’s go-to EV provider in the US, and their relationship appears to only be budding.
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