A specially fitted nine tonne electric Smith Newton vehicle, commissioned by DHL, is available for trial by retailers within its UK Fast Fashion Network, operated by the specialist department stores and fashion unit.
Paul Richardson, managing director, DHL Exel Supply Chain, Department Stores and Fashion UK and Europe, and part of the team who commissioned the vehicle said: ‘Following the introduction of our first fully electric vehicle last year we have invested in a specially adapted vehicle which is available to customers who are looking to trial new zero carbon emission technology within their supply chain. This is a major investment that gives all our customers the opportunity to try out an electric vehicle and see if it offers an effective solution that meets their environmental and commercial goals.’
DHL is currently trialling other electric vehicles within the UK Fast Fashion Network and across DHL Exel Supply Chain, including a nine tonne vehicle within its two award winning consolidation centres at Heathrow, operated on behalf of BAA, and at Bristol, operated in conjunction with Bristol City Council.
Jonathan Pilbro, business director, DHL Exel Supply Chain, Department Stores and Fashion added: ‘This zero emission vehicle will not only help reduce the impact of retailers’ operations on the environment, but it is exempt from the London Congestion Charge, London parking costs and the road fund licence, so also presents financial advantages. The vehicle’s first three-month trial with Burberry Retail UK, where it is delivering to its central London, West End and Heathrow stores, has proved both cost effective and time efficient as there is less time spent refueling and maintaining the vehicle. We already have other customers looking to take part in trials, like Ben Sherman, and Selfridges who will begin its trial in late May 2008 at the Birmingham Bull Ring store.’
DHL Exel Supply Chain commissioned the vehicle from Smith Electric Vehicles, but with several design adjustments. The box body width is wider and has been fitted with multi-hold panelling to enable the vehicle to be adaptable to any customer’s operations. The truck is designed to be flexible during loading so that it can carry pallets, totes, hanging garments and load lock in any combination. Its zero emission technology can provide a saving of 1.2kg CO2 per mile if recharged with renewable energy.