DHL trials new eco vehicles

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DHL Exel Supply Chain is offering retailers within its UK Fast Fashion Network the opportunity to trial its latest electric vehicle, a specially fitted nine tonne Smith Newton truck.

The vehicle runs on four batteries, which are recharged while in use through braking, with each providing up to 100 miles. It has a top speed of 50mph and is designed for city centre operations where roads are busy and there is a lot of stopping and starting involved.

The new truck had its first three-month trial with Burberry Retail UK, delivering to its central London, West End and Heathrow stores and there are plans for further trial to take place with Ben Sherman and Selfridges towards the end of the month.

According to Jonathan Pilbro, business director at DHL Exel Supply Chain, Department Stores and Fashion, drivers are very pleased with the performance of the vehicles, saying they are quieter, more reliable, more comfortable and don’t smell as strongly of diesel.

Although the initial outlay is more, the operating costs are said to be significantly lower, with an average payback period of one year. The low emission truck is also exempt from the London Congestion Charge, London parking costs and the road fund licence.

The move comes as DHL aims to improve the carbon efficiency of its operations by 30 per cent by 2020 and follows the introduction of its first fully electric vehicle last year.

Paul Richardson, managing director of DHL Exel Supply Chain, Department Stores and Fashion UK and Europe, said: “This is a major investment that gives all our customers the opportunity to try out an electric vehicle and see if it offers an effective solution that meets their environmental and commercial goals.”

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