DPD Germany uses economically efficient hybrid vehicle

DPD Germany is trialling the use of a retrofitted hybrid plug in delivery vehicle nicknamed the Elena that will pay for its own conversion within four years. The savings made from switching to electric vehicles over hydrocarbon powered vehicles have been elusive over the years but due to government regulation, DPD Germany may have just cracked it.

The Elena Mercedes Benz Sprinter van has been retrofitted with an electric power system that will enable the van to be driven under diesel power to a delivery area and then switched to electric, with a range of up to 50km, for deliveries. The system will allow it to drove in urban areas where new regulation will almost certainly come down heavily on diesel and petrol powered vans.

Where electric and hybrid vehicles are nothing new, they are expensive and do not present a viable economic business decision in terms of cost savings once the owner has paid the extra costs associated with electric vehicles. DPD however has spotted a business case for its operations in Germany.

In a statement from DPD, the company suggested, “Since December 2014, an exemption in Germany’s driving licence regulations has offered concrete economic benefits in the use of electro-mobility: in comparison to conventional 4.2 tonne models, plug-in hybrids can be driven with the generally available Class B driving licence. Because of their higher parcel load capacity 4.2 tonne models enable more efficient delivery operations, but because conventionally powered models require a Class C1 driving licence, use of these 4.2 tonne models is very restricted among parcel services.”

Peter Hirsch, Transport Manager at DPD Ludwigsburg said, “We expect the retrofitting to pay for itself within four years, which means that for the first time the use of electric drive systems is becoming a viable economic option for us.” Long term this could mean that it makes good business sense to go hybrid or electric instead of being a ‘company’s green conscience’ issue.

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