DPD’s zero emission fleet at its Bicester depot.

DPD’s zero emission fleet at its Bicester depot.

Credit: DPD UK

Parcel delivery firm DPD has gone fully electric for the fleet that serves the city of Oxford, England. It is the first of the company’s fleets to go fully electric and will help it comply with local air quality regulations.

Oxford City Council authority is currently trialling a Low Emission Zone, while a Zero Emission Zone plan for the city centre, due to start August, has been delayed following some technical issues.

The 40 electric vehicles, which will deliver more than 15,000 parcels a week throughout the city, will operate from DPD’s Bicester depot - a 60,000 sq ft hub at Symmetry Park, which is also DPD's first ‘net zero carbon in construction'.

While the Oxford fleet is the first to go EV, DPD says it plans a further nine cities will go ‘green fleet’ by year end. The all-electric fleets are part of DPD’s Vision 25 which plans to electrify its parcel delivery fleet in 25 major cities and conurbations by 2025 with the aim to cut 48,000,000 tonnes of CO2 from its fleet.

Vision 25 also encompases a European-wide drive by DPDgroup that involves the electrification of 225 urban areas in 20 different countries as it strives to be the most sustainable city delivery company.

Earlier this summer, DPD agreed a deal with electric van maker MAXUS for 750 e DELIVER commercials, which will take the firm's total UK EV fleet to over 1,700 EVs on the road by end 2021.

DPD's head of CSR, Olly Craughan, commenting on the new electric fleet, said:

"This is a landmark day for us. To say we can now deliver to a city the size of Oxford, using only electric vehicles, is a huge leap forward. And we are on track to repeat this in nine more cities this year.  We've been working with electric vehicles for the past three years and we have learned a lot in that time. As well as investing in the vehicles themselves, we've created a whole new smart delivery system around them, including the charging infrastructure.

"Bicester is the greenest and most sustainable facility in our UK network and it is right that we start the roll-out of our 25 green cities here, at a time when Oxford itself is taking a huge step with the Zero Emission Zone pilot due to be launched later this year. Our whole approach to sustainability is about joining up the dots beyond just buying electric vehicles.  And that means working with others on initiatives like city centre emissions schemes and measuring air quality. With this approach, we will be helping reduce emissions one city centre at a time, starting with Oxford."

DPD’s electric journey began with the first fully electric parcel depot in Westminster, London, in 2018. Currently it has 700 electric vehicles in operation on its fleet.

DPD Acquires CitySprint

While turning its fleet green is a key focus for the company, DPD has also been on the acquisition trail with the purchase of leading same-day delivery firm CitySprint.

Commenting on the acquisition, Elaine Kerr, CEO of DPD UK, said:

“Same day delivery is one of the fastest growing segments of the logistics market and so we are delighted to announce the intention to offer this new and exciting service to our customer offering. Even before the pandemic, demand for both next day and same day deliveries was soaring, and this trend has only escalated, something which we see continuing. DPD UK is already a market-leader, and once this acquisition completes, our position in the market will be strengthened further.”

CitySprint, with a fleet of 35,000 vehicles, will now become part of one of Europe’s leading parcel delivery groups, wholly owned by France's La Poste.