18th August 2021
DHL plans electric cargo planes from 2024
DHL Express, the world's largest provider of express delivery services, will begin deploying electric cargo planes from 2024.
The courier giant – which operates in 220 countries and territories – has announced a collaboration with Eviation, a global manufacturer of all-electric aircraft based in the Seattle area. DHL has initially ordered 12 fully electric "Alice" eCargo planes from Eviation and will pursue the longer-term goal of decarbonising its entire cargo fleet.
"We firmly believe in a future with zero-emission logistics," said John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express. "Therefore, our investments always follow the objective of improving our carbon footprint. On our way to clean logistics operations, the electrification of every transport mode plays a crucial role and will significantly contribute to our overall sustainability goal of zero emissions. Founded in 1969, DHL Express has been known as a pioneer in the aviation industry for decades. We have found the perfect partner with Eviation as they share our purpose, and together we will take off into a new era of sustainable aviation."
Alice will have its first test flight later this year. The all-electric plane is designed to be flown by a single pilot and will carry up to 1,200 kg (2,600 lbs). It will require 30 minutes or less to charge per flight hour and have a maximum range of up to 815 km (440 nautical miles). Alice will operate in all environments currently serviced by piston and turbine aircraft. Its advanced electric motors have fewer moving parts to increase reliability and cut maintenance costs, while its operating software constantly monitors flight performance to ensure optimal efficiency.
"From day one, we set an audacious goal to transform the aviation industry and create a new era with electric aircraft," said Eviation CEO Omer Bar-Yohay. "Partnering with companies like DHL who are the leaders in sustainable e-cargo transportation is a testament that the electric era is upon us. This announcement is a significant milestone on our quest to transform the future of flight across the globe."
The aircraft is ideal for feeder routes and requires less investment in station infrastructure, according to Eviation. Alice can be charged while loading and unloading operations occur, ensuring quick turnaround times that maintain DHL Express' tight schedules.
"My compliments to Eviation on the innovative development of the fully electric Alice aircraft" said Travis Cobb, EVP Global Network Operations and Aviation for DHL Express. "With Alice's range and capacity, this is a fantastic sustainable solution for our global network. Our aspiration is to make a substantial contribution in reducing our carbon footprint, and these advancements in fleet and technology will go a long way in achieving further carbon reductions. For us and our customers, this is a very important step in our decarbonization journey and a step forward for the aviation industry as a whole."
"The next time you order an on-demand package, check if it was delivered with a zero-emission aircraft like DHL will be doing," said Roei Ganzarski, Eviation Executive Chairman. "With on-demand shopping and deliveries on a constant rise, Alice is enabling DHL to establish a clean, quiet and low-cost operation that will open up greater opportunities for more communities."
DHL's parent, Deutsche Post AG, announced a new sustainability roadmap earlier this year. This will see a total of €7 billion ($8.2 billion) being invested to reduce CO2 emissions across the company's operations. The funds will go in particular towards electrification of the "last-mile" delivery fleet, sustainable aviation fuels and climate-neutral buildings. These measures aim to keep its emissions by 2030 in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, on the way to a longer-term target of zero emissions by 2050.
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