Earlier this month, global express delivery and logistics services provider DHL Express said it ordered 12 fully electric Alice eCargo planes from Seattle-based Eviation.
DHL said its objective is to establish what it called an unparalleled electric Express network and make what it called a “pioneering step into a sustainable aviation future.” And it added that Evation’s Alice planes, as fully electric aircraft, enables both cargo and passenger airlines to operate a zero-emissions fleet, with DHL noting that Eviation has a 2024 target date to deliver the Alice aircraft to DHL.
“We firmly believe in a future with zero-emission logistics,” says John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express, in a statement. “Therefore, our investments always follow the objective of improving our carbon footprint. On our way to clean logistics operations, the electrification of every transport mode plays a crucial role and will significantly contribute to our overall sustainability goal of zero emissions.”
DHL said that the Alice aircraft can be flown by a single pilot and will carry 2,600 pounds (1,250 kilograms), and it will require 30 minutes or less to charge per flight hour and have a maximum range of up to 440 nautical miles (815 kilometers). Alice will operate in all environments currently serviced by piston and turbine aircraft, according to DHL, and it added that Alice’s advanced electric motors have fewer moving parts to increase reliability and reduce maintenance costs. Its operating software constantly monitors flight performance to ensure optimal efficiency.
DHL Express Americas CEO Mike Parra told LM that for many years now, DHL’s investments have followed its objective of improving its carbon footprint and having cleaner operations worldwide.
“With our Strategy 2025, we cemented sustainability into every part of our business strategy,” he said. “Our new Sustainability Roadmap builds on that strategy, and we’ve committed to invest $7 billion (EUR) through 2030 in clean operations to reduce our emissions to under 29 million tons by 2030 and thereby achieve a science-based target based on the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). A big portion of this sustainability roadmap is following our efforts to become a leader in sustainable aviation. We started by investing in flight operations efficiencies with the latest technology, in more fuel-efficient aircraft, in sustainable aviation fuel and in the electrification and use of hydrogen technology. Investing in electric planes was the natural next step for us at DHL Express to continue our journey to achieving our ultimate goal: net zero emissions by 2050.”
When asked what the main benefits of electric aircraft are for DHL’s shipper customers, Parra explained that rresponsibilities with the environment doesn’t just start with DHL Express, in that its customers are also looking for more environmentally-friendly partners and service providers, and DHL offering them a service that aligns with their intentions of emitting less carbon emissions and taking better care of the environment is a priority for DHL as well.
“Our investments in innovative, sustainable solutions and our continuous efforts to update and improve our fleet reinforces what is already a clear competitive advantage for DHL Express—our global transportation network,” he said. “We have an unparalleled, market-leading, time definite international (TDI) network that delivers excellence across all functions and markets. This investment will also help our network continue to evolve to meet future customer requirements, providing them with the added value of a more sustainable offering.”
What’s more, he said that in addition to this, DHL also hopes that with this engagement it makes a pioneering step into a sustainable logistics future with an unparalleled electric Express network that also spurs further adoption and development of this technology.
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