DPD Germany has converted one of its diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans into a hybrid delivery vehicle using an electrical retrofit kit created by a consortium of regional developers.
The ‘Elena’ delivery vehicle will be deployed in the cities of Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg, and the town of Bietigheim-Bissinge in southwest Germany. It will use its diesel engine to drive between locations and then use its electric motor for the street-to-street deliveries. The consortium of developers for the retrofit kit includes vehicle engineers Lauer & Weiss and Huber Group, as well as Esslingen University of Applied Sciences.
The vehicle has a maximum combined range of 700km (435 miles) with electrical power contributing 50km (31 miles). The battery is then charged overnight using a conventional power socket at DPD’s parcel sorting center in Ludwigsburg.
Gerd Seber, group manager, sustainability and innovation, DPD, said, “In contrast to purely electric vehicles, the hybrid drive now enables DPD to make emissions-free deliveries at a greater range. That gives us significantly more flexibility and opens up entirely new possibilities of use in making local, emissions-free deliveries.”
DPD already uses eight fully electric vehicles in the Stuttgart area as part of an ongoing trial. However, there are limitations on the application of the Mercedes-Benz Vito-E-Cell vehicles in terms of range and load capacity.
Peter Hirsch, transport manager at DPD in Ludwigsburg, said, “For the first time this novel retrofit kit gives us the opportunity to switch to electro-mobility with the vehicle class which is most popular among parcel services.
“As a first step, DPD intends to use the ‘Elena’ model on the basis of a 3.5-ton Sprinter for the purpose of collecting experience. At the same time we’re thinking about retrofitting a 4.2-ton Sprinter. 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.”
December 9, 2015