Deutsche Post DHL is switching to electric vehicles for its delivery services in Bonn and the surrounding region, making the city the first location in Germany with a carbon-free vehicle concept. In an initial phase, 79 vehicles will be put into service by the end of the year in Bonn and the surrounding area for the parcel delivery and the combined mail and parcel delivery.

The pilot project will see about 141 electric vehicles on the road by 2016, resulting in decreased CO2 emissions of over 500 tons per year. Even at the start of the project, Bonn will already be host to one of the world’s largest fleet of electrically powered commercial vehicles for combined delivery, according to Deutsche Post. The project is supported by the German government’s electromobility support program. The CEO of Deutsche Post DHL, Frank Appel, presented the project in Bonn with German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier, Corporate Board Member MAIL Jürgen Gerdes and the mayor of Bonn, Jürgen Nimptsch.

“This pilot project is unique worldwide and can serve as a role model for other cities and regions,” said Appel. “As the world’s leading logistics company, we operate one of the world’s largest vehicle fleets. And because we see the effects of global trade on the environment, we accept responsibility: Alternative drive systems have already been in use in our fleet for years. With about 8,500 vehicles with environmentally friendly drive systems across our operations, we have one of the most efficient fleets in the sector.”

Deutsche Post DHL is a partner in many alternative-drive technology pilot projects. These involve the use of hybrid engines and vehicles powered by electricity, natural gas and biogas, as well as tests of dual fuel or aerodynamic modifications. The Group is working with all major automobile manufacturers, helping to gain important insights for the refinement of new technologies.

In 2011 it also began to develop a dedicated electric vehicle; the vehicle was developed for mail and parcel delivery in cooperation with StreetScooter GmbH and institutes at the RWTH Aachen University. The “StreetScooter” is an electric vehicle specially tailored to the needs of Deutsche Post DHL. With a range of up to 120 kilometers (during the daily postal routine max. 80 km), it is ideal for use in the combined delivery of mail and parcels. An initial production run of 50 vehicles will be delivered starting in summer of 2013. About 20 vehicles will be put into service in the pilot project for carbon-neutral delivery in Bonn and another 30 will be used throughout Germany to transport mail and parcels.

The investments in alternative drive technologies and reduction of CO2 emissions are part of the Group-wide GoGreen program at Deutsche Post DHL. The program includes a specific CO2 efficiency target: The Group has set itself the goal of a 30-percent improvement by 2020 in its CO2 emissions compared with the 2007 baseline. This year the company is celebrating the achievement of two milestones as the Group-wide environmental program turns five and the company is already halfway to achieving its CO2 goal with an efficiency increase of 16 percent.