DHL Express pilots hydrogen truck with fuel cell range extender

DHL Express, together with its customer, Apple, is testing hydrogen-fuelled trucks for long-haulage applications, equipped with a fuel cell range extender from VDL.

The program’s aim is to facilitate the development of low-carbon, heavy-duty, hydrogen-use vehicles for logistical applications, while gaining practical experience in different global locations.

DHL Express is testing the truck, operated by Dutch Nassau Sneltransport, on the cross-border route between the Netherlands and Belgium, covering a daily distance of 200km.

The hydrogen range extender, built by the Netherland’s VDL Group, has the added benefit of being able to drive longer distances, with the batteries recharging during driving using electricity generated by the hydrogen fuel cell.

As part of the project, the truck refuels on a daily basis at a mobile fuel station built by hydrogen systems provider, Wystrach. The truck will transport deliveries of Apple products during the piloting phase, where 350 tons of CO2 can be potentially saved using the new technology.

In line with its Sustainability Roadmap, Deutsche Post DHL Group is heavily investing in the use of alternative fuels. Hydrogen is opening up a new market and can contribute to green transport solutions. Insights from the project help evaluate the potential of this fuel alternative and support decision-making processes.

Alberto Nobis, CEO DHL Express Europe, said: “In a globalised world, sustainable and clean fuels are essential for climate-neutral logistics. Not only for sea and air freight but also line-haul road freight, as these help reduce CO2 emissions.

“That’s why we engage not only in the electrification of our fleet but also invest in the development of alternative drive systems for very long ranges. The project shows that we can achieve truly emission-free logistics in Europe if we join forces and build on experience.”

Image: Shutterstock

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