Consumer parcel delivery specialist Hermes places order for 168 fully-electric Mercedes-Benz eSprinters.
The zero-emission vans are due on the road before the end of the year. They will be assigned to Hermes’ popular ParcelShops service, which operates from more than 5,000 convenience stores and other locations nationwide.
The company’s first substantial investment in battery-powered vans follows successful trials from a depot in Enfield, north London, of a pair of eSprinter demonstrators supplied by Intercounty Truck & Van.
The Dealer, which has headquarters in Wellingborough, and other branches in Boston, Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Toddington, won Hermes’ tender and will be fulfilling its entire order for Mercedes-Benz vans.
Hermes has commissioned Pod Point UK to install charging points at its network of depots. This work is already underway, with the focus initially on those in London and other cities that have introduced low emission zones.
Hermes plans to undertake all ParcelShop collections with electric vehicles at the earliest opportunity.
The company relies on a core fleet to service its ParcelShop business. This currently stands at some 450 units but is growing, and supplemented with rented vehicles during busy periods.
The owned fleet includes 30 smaller electric vans that work from a depot in East London, while French-built diesels will be stood down to make way for the eSprinters.
Hermes Head of Fleet, David Landy, said: “The transition to a zero-emission, electric fleet is integral to our ESG (environment, social and governance) agenda, and we’ve been keen to take the next, major step forward towards this goal.
“However, we are under no illusions… this will not be an easy journey. From a purely operational standpoint, and given the current state of the technology, whichever way you look at it – whether in terms of range, payload or volume – a van with an internal combustion engine beats an electric one hands down.
“Only when it comes to tailpipe emissions does the battery-powered vehicle outshine the diesel. So we know there are constraints and compromises to make, and we recognise that this is going to put extra pressure and increased demands on those colleagues out in our depots who are doing a difficult job, day in, day out.”
The Mercedes-Benz eSprinter is powered by a 114hp electric motor that drives the front wheels. It will travel 95 miles (combined WLTP with 80km/h speed limiter) on a single charge, which is ample for the majority of urban delivery and last mile applications; recuperative energy recovered when decelerating supplements the batteries’ output.
Using an 80kW DC fast-charging cable, the eSprinter’s four parallel batteries can be restored from 10% to 80% of maximum capacity in just 30 minutes.
The vehicle is based on the L2 (medium length), H2 (high roof) Sprinter. Its 55 kWh high-voltage battery pack is securely mounted beneath the body, so does not impinge on cargo carrying space.
As a result, the eSprinter’s 11m3 load volume is identical to that of its diesel-engined, front-wheel drive stablemate, and half a cubic metre larger than its rear-wheel drive equivalent.