21. May 2019 | Press release

Nine VW e-Crafters for DPD Germany: A new milestone on the way to completely emission-free parcel delivery in Hamburg's city centre

  • Parcel service DPD converts to parcel deliveries in Hamburg's city centre which are locally 100% free from emissions

  • Electrically powered VW e-Crafters form the backbone of emission-free parcel delivery in Hamburg

  • Public funding within the ZUKUNFT.DE project 

Hamburg, 21 May 2019 – International parcel and express service provider DPD Germany has taken delivery of nine VW e-Crafters in Hamburg. The fully electric vans will soon be used on delivery rounds in the inner city of Hamburg. DPD has been testing two pre-series models of the eCrafter in daily operation in Hamburg since the beginning of 2018. The nine new vehicles now form the backbone of a completely electrically-powered parcel delivery system in Hamburg's city centre. By the summer of this year DPD intends to deliver and pick up every single parcel in Hamburg's city centre entirely free from local emissions. The area involved includes the Altstadt, Neustadt, Hafencity, St. Georg and Hammerbrook districts. The purchase of the VW e-Crafters is being supported as part of the ZUKUNFT.DE funding project.

"After numerous tests we are switching over to fully electric vehicles in Hamburg's city centre on a larger scale than ever before."

Gerd Seber, Group Manager City Logistics and Sustainability at DPD Germany

"After numerous tests we are switching over to fully electric vehicles in Hamburg's city centre on a larger scale than ever before," explains Gerd Seber, Group Manager City Logistics and Sustainability at DPD Germany. "With the acquisition of nine VW e-Crafters we are already coming very close to achieving this goal: we are very pleased that we will soon be able to supply large parts of Hamburg's inner city with parcels that are locally emission-free."

The VW e-Crafters will be stationed at the DPD parcel centre in Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg and will start their daily delivery and pick-up rounds from there. Thanks to a six-figure investment the location will be equipped with a powerful charging infrastructure. Delivery by e-Crafter is supplemented by electrically assisted cargo bikes and e-scooters of the TRIPL make.

Parcel deliveries with the VW e-Crafter

With its electric drive and a maximum range of up to 160 kilometres the VW e-Crafter is particularly suitable for parcel delivery in inner cities, where short delivery rounds with a large number of stops typically predominate. The van's lithium-ion battery is completely integrated into the chassis, so that the 10.7 cubic metre capacity of the Crafter can be fully utilised. The maximum payload is one tonne. The vehicle therefore has all the prerequisites to operate delivery tours in urban areas with the same productivity as conventional vehicles. Delivery rounds with a particularly high proportion of parcels for private consignees can therefore be switched in full from conventional vehicles to the VW e-Crafter. If there is a higher proportion of parcels for commercial consignees, it is necessary to add additional delivery rounds. The batteries of the e-Crafters are charged at 7.2 kW AC wall charging units installed directly at the DPD depot in Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg. It is not necessary to recharge the batteries during delivery on the selected rounds.

Small electric vehicles for the city: cargo bikes, e-scooters and microdepots

In Hamburg small, agile electric vehicles complement the parcel delivery with VW e-Crafters. These small vehicles are mainly used for deliveries to private consignees, who usually receive only 1-2 smaller parcels per stop. In metropolitan areas with their heavy traffic and extreme density, small vehicles are often more efficient than conventional vans. DPD has had very good experience with electrically powered cargo bikes, for example. Under favourable conditions the cargo bike can deliver parcels just as efficiently as a conventional van and can therefore provide the company's large vans with effective support, although it will never completely replace them.

In Hamburg there are already three cargo bikes from the manufacturer Radkutsche in use. Two e-scooters - so-called TRIPLs from the Danish manufacturer EWII - are also in operation on behalf of Hamburg's parcel consignees. The TRIPL is faster than the cargo bike and has a greater range but, just like the cargo bike, can also be driven right up to the front door. This saves both time and distance and reduces the pressure on inner-city traffic.

The use of compact electric vehicles requires the establishment of urban microdepots: microdepots are small distribution points located directly in the urban delivery area. They are supplied with parcels in the morning by truck or van, and distribution within the delivery area is then carried out using small vehicles. A first microdepot in Hamburg was put into operation by DPD last year: the TRIPLs are stationed in an underground car park in Hamburg's Hafencity and are also charged there at night. Further microdepots are to follow in the course of the next few months.

ZUKUNFT.DE: electrifying parcel deliveries

The ZUKUNFT.DE project stands for delivery services which are customer-friendly, sustainable, flexible and transparent thanks to freedom from emissions. This is a large-scale undertaking to promote the electrification of parcel delivery operations on the so-called "last mile". The massive growth rates in inner-city parcel deliveries due to the boom in e-commerce are leading to a significantly higher volume of traffic, for which new concepts need to be developed with regard to zero emissions and efficiency (optimisation of process organisation and use of space). Within the scope of the project emission-free electric vans of the 2.8t (eVito) and the 3.5t class (e.g. eSprinter and e-Crafter) from large-scale industrial production (Daimler and Volkswagen) are being operated by well-known service providers in the CEP sector (DPD, GLS, Hermes, UPS) in the centres of major German cities. In addition to the conversion of the vehicle fleets to clean drive technology and practical testing of these e-vehicles, charging and load management are also being developed and implemented at the relevant depot locations.

On the vehicle side the project is being implemented in cooperation with Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG, and in terms of energy with Stromnetz Hamburg GmbH and EnBW AG (affiliated). The project is scientifically supported by Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO) and Kühne Logistics University, and is coordinated by the Hamburg project control centre hySOLUTIONS GmbH (project management) and its two associated partners, e-mobil BW and the Hessen Ministry of Economics, Energy, Transport and Regional Development.

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is supporting the project with a total of EUR 9.9 million in the introductory phase (EUR 7.4 million) and in the further course of the project (around EUR 2.5 million). The implementation of the corresponding Electromobility Promotion Directive has been coordinated by NOW GmbH.

Carbon-neutral parcel transport for everyone - at no extra cost to the customer

As part of its group-wide sustainability programme DrivingChange™, DPDgroup committed itself as early as 2012 to carbon-neutral transport of every parcel for all customers - at no additional cost. For this purpose DPDgroup relies on a combination of three interlinked principles: measuring, reducing and offsetting. DPDgroup is the world leader in the voluntary offsetting of emissions which are harmful to the climate. DPDgroup currently offsets almost one million tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year. This means that the group is responsible for almost 5 percent of all voluntarily offset CO2 emissions in Europe. At the same time CO2 emissions per parcel are continuously being reduced.