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DHL greens delivery fleet with hybrid trucks, electric vans


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Logistics giant DHL will deploy an all-green commercial delivery fleet in Manhattan composed of 80 low-emission, alternative fuel vehicles by September this year.

Of the 80 vehicles, 50 will be hybrid trucks while 30 will be electric vans. Hybrid and electric vehicle developer Azure Dynamics is manufacturing the vehicles, with Ford Motor Company providing the chassis. The hybrid trucks will feature Azure’s hybrid powertrain into the Ford E450.

The electric vans will be Ford Transit Connect vans, carrying Force Drive electric powertrains by Azure and Johnson Controls-Saft advanced lithium-ion batteries.

Each van can run 80 miles in a single charge, has zero tailpipe emissions and is “virtually silent” when driven.

The trucks can shift to electric drive mode at low vehicle speeds and use regenerative breaking. The conversion reportedly improves fuel economy by 40 percent and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 percent.

DHL’s green fleet initiative is part of the company’s GoGreen program which aims to improve company’s carbon efficiency by 30 percent by 2020 based on 2007 levels.

Globally, the program aims to reduce DHL’s ground fleet emissions by replacing old vehicles, deploying alternative-fuel vehicles and optimizing route planning.

While Deutsche Post DHL plans to replace 15 percent of its air fleet with more fuel-efficient planes by 2015, the company is also gearing to gradually shift from air transport to road, sea and rail.

It also encourages a shift from road to rail whenever possible.

Worldwide, Deutsche Post DHL has some 100 projects using electric and hybrid vehicles, alternative fuels and electric and aerodynamic modifications worldwide. A third of these projects is operating in Germany.

In Sweden and Switzerland, the group is exploring biogas-fueled vehicles, while more hybrids are being tested in Britain and Japan.

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