The heavy-duty electric trucks will be introduced in Los Angeles, with more electric vehicles planned for the U.S. market.
DHL Express is forging ahead with its emissions reduction goals with the launch of four Class 8 battery-electric trucks in the U.S. DHL is piloting the trucks in the Los Angeles market to haul goods to and from the DHL LAX Gateway and local service center facilities.
The electric trucks are manufactured by BYD Motors and equipped with an air-ride cab and air suspension, providing them with enough power and torque to operate at 82,000 lbs. combined weight. Greg Hewitt, CEO of DHL, explained that the L.A. market has a great deal of volume and a need for these trucks.
“It’s a busy gateway for us,” Hewitt said during an ACT Virtual press conference. “And sitting within that 125-mile radius that we find these electric vehicles work effectively, we can move between our stations and test the capability of the equipment.”
California is a prime market for these vehicles. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is mandating that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles be 100% zero-emission by 2045 “where feasible,” with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks. CARB is pushing for these emissions reductions through its newly adopted Advanced Clean Trucks regulation.
This year, California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom, along with the governors of 14 other states, as well as the mayor of Washington, D.C., agreed to a pact called the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero-Emission Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding, which calls for only new medium- and heavy-duty zero-emission trucks and buses to be sold in their jurisdiction by 2050. They set a 30% goal of zero-emission commercial vehicles by 2030, which will be reassessed in 2025 as new data comes in.
“The introduction of these efficient electric trucks is a huge step forward, not only toward achieving our own clean transport goals but also California’s ambitious goals on the adoption of zero-emission vehicles,” Hewitt said. “By implementing these electric trucks, we will prevent more than 300 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere per year as we continue to grow and enhance our clean pickup and delivery solutions.”
The new trucks aim to enhance DHL’s alternative fuel vehicle fleet in the U.S., which includes fully electric, hybrid-electric, and clean diesel in addition to low-power, electric-assist e-cargo cycles. DHL Express also has 72 all-electric battery-powered vans on order from multiple vendors that will support DHL pickup and delivery operations throughout California and New York.
During the Nov. 17 press conference, Aaron Gilmore, vice president, Electric Truck Division, North America, BYD, pointed out that commercial drivers are finding these electric Class 8 trucks “much easier to drive than a diesel vehicle.”
“That initial instant torque feel and regenerative braking is a little different than what they are used to, but drivers learn to love the smooth, powerful acceleration of those trucks; the feel of the regenerative braking doing most of that braking for them; and, overall, the lack of diesel smell, the quietness of the cab, and the lack of the vibrations of a combustion engine,” Gilmore said.
Hewitt said the test pilot in Los Angeles will determine whether DHL will add the Class 8 electric vehicles to its operations in other markets in North America.
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