DHL’s Department Stores and Fashion division has ordered a nine tonne electric Smith Newton for use in its consolidation centre operations.
Paul Richardson of DHL said: “The consolidation centre concept aims to reduce traffic and carbon emissions in congested areas and provide retailers with a cost effective, time efficient service.
“The investment of our first ever electric vehicle will help to innovate the use of alternative fuels within DHL.”
The truck, fitted with a Cartwright body, uses five suitcase-sized Sodium Nickel Chloride batteries, which are lighter than lead acid batteries and have three times the energy density.
In the past, electric vans could only manage speeds of around 20 mph and about 40 miles between charges. The trucks now developed have a top speed of 50 mph and the ability to cover 100 miles on a single charge.
Currently DHL operates a number of low-emissions hybrid vehicles globally but the Smith Newton will be the first fully electric vehicle in DHL’s fleet.