DPD trials hybrid electric vans

DPD has announced a partnership with the London EV Company (LEVC) to trial the VN5 electric van ahead of its national launch at the end of the year.

LEVC makes the black cab London taxis, and was the first pure taxi cab manufacturers to produce a hybrid electric vehicle in 2017.

The LEVC VN5 van has a pure-electric range of 63 miles and a combined diesel/electric range of 300. DPD is to test the vehicle on its routes in different driving conditions with different loads using its full hybrid range extending technology.

By the end of the year, some 10% of DPD’s fleet will be fully electric. It has also developed a new model for sustainable urban parcel deliveries.

In committing to lowering its transport carbon emissions DPD has been vocal about the limitations it faces. Firstly there is the issue of supply – it cannot get the volume of vehicles it seeks. Rural routes provide a range problem, and this is why the company is looking towards diesel-electric hybrids.

Dwain McDonald, DPD’s CEO commented: “We are committed to having the greenest fleet in the UK, as soon as possible.  While EVs remain our priority, we are keen to look at a wide range of technologies to help solve different challenges. We’ve developed a great model for large urban centres and EVs are working well out of our regional depots on many routes. But, inevitably, we have a number of routes where we have to drive a significant number of stem miles from the depot just to get to the first delivery address. At the moment, the limited range on pure EVs, means we can’t move away from diesel vans for these routes.

“It is great to work with LEVC. It is such an iconic British brand and another great Midlands-based business. We are keen to see how the technology works for us.  It is a very flexible solution and it could well help solve a few challenges.  It is very smart, and we like that.  For example, we could use geo-fencing so that it switches automatically to electric-only on entering urban areas, including low emissions zones.  We will certainly give it a good test and we’ll see how it works out.  In the meantime, we are taking delivery of more EVs every week, right across our depot network and the feedback from our drivers and customers has been excellent.”

Joerg Hofmann, LEVC CEO, commented: “We are delighted that DPD is the first company to begin testing of our VN5 taxi-van prototypes. These real-world tests mark a milestone occasion in the history of LEVC, as the company continues its transformation from an iconic British taxi brand to a leading electric vehicle manufacturer.

“VN5 is set to revolutionise green logistics and we are looking forward to working with DPD as it puts the vehicle through its paces. Feedback from major business operators will be crucial to the further development of the van as we rapidly move to its launch in Q4 this year.”