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15 Jun 22

How DPD Slovakia is electrifying its fleet

DPD Slovakia is proving that it’s possible for environmentally-committed fleets to pioneer the use of electric vans for last mile deliveries even in countries with less developed infrastructure

It is an unfortunate truth that not every fleet can be based in Norway or the Netherlands, countries that top electric vehicle readiness tables. Some countries have been slower to offer purchase incentives to encourage EV uptake, while others have lagged behind in the development of their public recharging infrastructure. But as its name suggests, global warming is an international, not national issue, forcing environmentally-focused fleets to concentrate on minimising their carbon footprints, regardless of local support.

DPD Slovakia is a prime example; a business and fleet committed to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions in a country that LeasePlan ranked 19th out of 21 in its EV Readiness Index.

Undeterred, the market-leading courier company was determined to become carbon neutral, a programme that included the electrification of its fleet. The company mapped its delivery routes and knew the mileage and load-carrying requirements of its vehicles, which allowed it to identify the most suitable routes, from both an economic and environmental perspective, for electric vans to operate.

Peter Pavuk, CEO of DPD Slovakia, said: “The range of suitable distances continues to grow. At the beginning it was 40 to 60km daily. Currently, the suitable range is anywhere from 40 to 150km. As electric vehicle technology (mainly battery capacity and weight) develops further, I estimate e-vans will be suitable for all ranges.”

Voltia vans

DPD Slovakia initially selected the Voltia van, based on the Nissan eNV200, before switching to the Voltia XXL, based on the Stellantis platform, its decision based on total cost of ownership. By the end of this year the courier expects to have more than 100 electric vans.

The company’s charging strategy has followed a similar evolution, starting with standard charging cables plugged into a wall, before advancing to wall boxes and now a fully balanced depot charging system.

Pioneering an electric fleet strategy has forced DPD Slovakia to overcome a number of challenges, including persuading courier drivers that EV technology is safe and the range is adequate, even in winter.

“You need to get subcontractors and couriers – the users – on your side,” said Pavuk.

He also had to make the business case for both the capital and operating expenditure required to electrify the fleet, working closely with Voltia and LeasePlan to structure leases that allow the e-LCVs to compete with ICE equivalents on TCO.

Read the longer version of this article in Fleet Europe

Authored by: Jonathan Manning