DHL is building the first all-electric air cargo network

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Logistics giant DHL has announced plans to build the world’s first all-electric air cargo network in partnership with Seattle-based Eviation.

World leaders are set to gather in Glasgow, UK in November for the UN Climate Change Conference where it’s hoped the international community can agree on national measures to help address the global crisis. However, individual businesses will also need to take action for any meaningful impact.

As of 2016, heavy transportation overtook (PDF) energy production as the biggest polluter. An increasing number of consumers are switching to electric vehicles (and logistics companies for the “last mile” of deliveries by vans) but cargo ships and planes still guzzle fossil fuels.

John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express, said:

“We firmly believe in a future with zero-emission logistics.

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. 

Founded in 1969, DHL Express has been known as a pioneer in the aviation industry for decades. We have found the perfect partner with Eviation as they share our purpose, and together we will take off into a new era of sustainable aviation.”

Eviation manufactures all-electric aircraft. The company’s first plane, Alice, will make its maiden flight later this year before going into operation for both cargo and passenger trips.

DHL has ordered 12 Alice planes from Eviation to create the world’s first zero-emission cargo fleet.

Omer Bar-Yohay, CEO of Eviation, commented:

“From day one, we set an audacious goal to transform the aviation industry and create a new era with electric aircraft.

Partnering with companies like DHL who are the leaders in sustainable e-cargo transportation is a testament that the electric era is upon us. This announcement is a significant milestone on our quest to transform the future of flight across the globe.”

Alice can be flown by a single pilot and is able to carry 1,200 kilograms (2,600 lbs). It will require 30 minutes or less to charge per flight hour and have a maximum range of up to 815 kilometres (440 nautical miles).

Travis Cobb, EVP Global Network Operations and Aviation for DHL Express, said:

“With Alice’s range and capacity, this is a fantastic sustainable solution for our global network. Our aspiration is to make a substantial contribution in reducing our carbon footprint, and these advancements in fleet and technology will go a long way in achieving further carbon reductions.

For us and our customers, this is a very important step in our decarbonisation journey and a step forward for the aviation industry as a whole.”

Eviation’s plane can operate in all environments currently serviced by traditional aircraft and even helps to reduce ongoing maintenance costs and increase reliability through having fewer moving parts.

(Image Credit: DHL)

Want to find out more from executives and thought leaders in this space? Find out more about the Digital Twin World event, taking place on 9 November 2021, which will explore augmenting business outcomes in more depth and the industries that will benefit.

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