New emission-free logistics solutions are being pioneered by global logistics company Dachser in cities across Europe. The pilot projects build on new electromobility concepts and adapts city logistics processes to tomorrow’s needs, offering bright prospects for emissions- and traffic-plagued city centres across the globe, including in Africa – where Dachser is building a strong network from South Africa.
Dachser’s project in Stuttgart sees highly manoeuvrable cargo bikes serving the last mile. Bright yellow branded Pedelecs built by cargo bike specialist veloCARRIER, a Dachser partner in the pilot project, are specially designed to carry palleted groupage shipments and can transport a euro pallet with a load of 250 kilograms. Heavier-duty work is done by a compact, all-electric FUSO eCanter 7.5-ton truck. This will soon be joined by Daimler’s eActros, an all-electric 18-ton truck, which Dachser will integrate into the existing test operations. The cargo bike riders manage deliveries from the microhub to areas of the city where traffic is restricted, while the eCanter delivers heavier loads to shopping centres, malls, and retailers’ branches.
Dachser went for the FUSO eCanter because it’s the first all-electric truck to enter full-scale production, and so it will add momentum to this entire class of commercial vehicle. Depending on its design and purpose, the all-electric light truck offers a range of some 100 kilometers and a load capacity of up to 3.5 metric tons. Its electric powertrain comprises six high-voltage lithium-ion batteries, each one with 420 V and 13.8 kWh.
Test operations are underway not only in Stuttgart but also in Berlin, Tübingen, Freiburg, Paris, and Málaga. Dachser is not looking to take a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, it wants to come up with a range of solutions, each of them focused on optimizing deliveries, routes, and times.
“Anyone looking to shape the city deliveries of tomorrow must couple tried-and-true logistics systems with new ideas,” says Michael Schilling, COO Road Logistics at Dachser. “We liaise closely with universities, research institutes, business associations, and start-ups to spot innovations early on and implement them quickly.”
However, Schilling says the scale of Dachser’s research and development work in this field makes it clear that sustainable city logistics will not come for free. “We are investing today to ensure our customers benefit from pioneering zero-emissions supply chains. It will take a great deal of effort to get the technology and the processes right, and logistics companies will have to factor in these additional costs in the future.”
Based on solid learnings from Europe, other networks may be able to leapfrog developments as they grow and move quickly to applying Dachser’s modular toolbox for handling the last mile in city centres.