DPD Switzerland electrifies an entire transalpine route

European logistics provider DPD is moving goods across the Alps without tailpipe emissions. Between Ticino and the northern side of the Alps, DPD Switzerland uses electric trucks and the railway.

The Gotthard route is among the oldest transalpine routes, and trains on those tracks were electrified already 100 years ago. The train line has been running continuously on electricity between Chiasso and Lucerne since 1922, and the entire route to Basel has been electrified since 1924. As for DPD Switzerland, using the rails in combination with a new fleet of zero-emission trucks running between depots is another step towards decarbonising its entire operations in Switzerland. The statement also calls this a “paradigm shift in transalpine freight transport” in terms of exhaust and noise emissions.

“The use of electric trucks on the Gotthard axis was considered unrealistic until a few years ago,” says Tilmann Schultze, CEO of DPD Switzerland. “We are all the more pleased that the changeover has now been successful. For us it is an important step towards emission-free parcel delivery, but also a contribution to the protection of the Alps.”

The latest trucks arrived in early February and are now in regular service between the depot in Giubiasco and major locations in German-speaking Switzerland.

Designwerk has developed the new EVs in Winterthur, northern Switzerland. The vehicle of type DW E-Truck Logistics 18E can charge 350 kWh and a permissible total weight of 42 tonnes (incl trailer). They boast 900 kWh batteries for an average range of 600 kilometres. DPD adds the new fleet was also charging green energy at the depots. While Designwerk also delivers mega-watt charging stations, it is unclear which charging stations DPD uses.

“We have found an optimal partner in the manufacturer Designwerk,” says Ville Heimgartner, Senior Innovation Project & Sustainability Manager at DPD Switzerland. As reported, the companies have been working together since 2020 and set new range records in 2021.

DPD currently has six e-trucks in operation throughout Switzerland. Their number will gradually increase in the coming months, the company adds.
Globally, 15 per cent of the DPD fleet of around 850 vehicles is electrified, and the target of 20 per cent by the end of the year is within reach. By 2030 the entire DPD fleet should be emission-free and consist of 90 per cent electric vehicles. The remaining vehicles are expected to have alternative zero-emission drives and be used for very long tours. DPD has set itself the goal of reducing total CO2 emissions by 75 % by 2030 (base 2020) and is part of the new EV100+ pledge.

DPD Switzerland’s parent company, Geopost, has had its short- and long-term CO2 reduction targets validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). The SBTi is a cooperation of the Carbon Disclosure Project, the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute and WWF. The SBTi standards are ambitious: “net zero” applies not only to direct emissions (such as from company-owned vehicles) but also to all indirect emissions along the entire value chain.

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