DHL Supply Chain tests electric hybrid

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DHL Supply Chain has developed a new 14 tonner series hybrid truck, as part of its GoGreen Programme, which has a target of improving its mother company Deutsche Post DHL’s overall CO2 emissions by 30 per cent by 2020.

The entirely electrically driven hybrid has its own on-board power generator.

The new truck, which the company reckons is the first of its design in the UK, is expected to save up to 25 per cent on fuel and carbon.

Currently being trialled as part of NHS Supply Chain’s fleet, at its facility in Maidstone, Kent, which is operated by DHL, the innovation comes after a two-year process of getting it on the road.

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Ian MacAulay, innovation manager at DHL Supply Chain UK & Ireland, said: “The first part of the test was to answer the questions, Will the truck work for our customers? Does it work as a commercial vehicle? Then we looked at its maximum technology potential and longevity.”

The project sees a standard 14 tonne vehicle, which looks and drives the same, with its original engine left untouched, fitted with an electric generator and motor to enable a fully electric drive.

Magtec, a supplier of hybrid and electrical drive systems, was chosen as development partner and therefore supplier of the truck’s drive system.

Being electric, the vehicle only needs forward, reverse and neutral and it uses a regenerative braking system.

“The driver’s experience is important and his or her acceptance is crucial. So far, we have only had positive feedback.”

Lenny Wiles, Magtec’s technical service manager, said: “Whereas the rest of the fleet is automatic, this electric truck is an instant drive, it’s not slow so there is no compromise when driving.

“Manoeuvring is easy and it provides a relaxed journey, you find you’re not causing traffic or taking your time to pull off on a roundabout, you can really blend in with other drivers.

The prototype currently sees all data logged, analysing every detail from why and where the vehicle has slowed down to an exact map trace of the routes its taken.

If the truck is successful, DHL Supply Chain hopes it will form a major part of its delivery operations in the future.

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