DHL Unveils Four Electric Tractor-Trailers

DHL Byd vehicle

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DHL furthered its green efforts with the launch of a new fleet of electric tractor-trailer vehicles, the company announced Nov. 17.

The BYD Class 8 battery-electric trucks will first be piloted out of Los Angeles. DHL plans to start with four vehicles before potentially expanding the program. The company said the integration of the new trucks supports its goal to reduce emissions to net zero.

“We have often looked at our pickup-and-delivery fleet and now to be looking at our linehaul fleet is exciting,” DHL Express CEO Greg Hewitt said during a virtual press conference. “What we’re really here to talk about today is the fact that we’re introducing a new tractor-trailer.”

BYD Motors manufactured the electric trucks with its battery, which is intended to last all day on a single charge. The trucks have an overall carrying capacity of 105,000 pounds and a working range of at least 125 miles. The mileage is extended in ideal weather conditions or less weight.

“We’re excited about that,” Hewitt said. “We think it ushers in the dawn of a new opportunity. It’s not the end. I think it’s just the beginning, and we’re excited about it.”

Los Angeles was chosen as the initial location for the program for several reasons, including Los Angeles International Airport being a major hub for the company. California also has policies and programs that are favorable to environmental and sustainability efforts.

“It’s a busy gateway for us. We have a number of flights coming in from Asia and Europe. It really is our gateway to the West,” Hewitt said. “It supplies a very busy market in the greater Los Angeles area, which has a lot of volume, a need for heavy-equipment trucks and sitting within that 125-mile radius we find these electric vehicles work effectively. We can move between our stations and really test the capability of the equipment.”


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Hewitt added that the program will be expanded if it is successful. New York and New Jersey are likely markets, but Philadelphia also is an option. DHL, too, is looking at whether to expand the pilot into Canadian markets next.

DHL in recent years has worked on several fronts to transition its operations to be more environmentally friendly. The BYD Class 8 battery-electric trucks are just the latest endeavor. European operations have been ahead on these efforts, but the U.S. side of the business is catching up.

The DHL conference was hosted by ACT Virtual, a four-month educational series that focuses on environmental sustainability in trucking. The series kicked off Aug. 18.

DHL Express is a unit of DHL Supply Chain, which ranks No. 3 on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of largest logistics companies in North America.

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