UK Logistics company Hermes will be introducing 1,500 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Vito battery-electric vans to its fleet for last-mile delivery services.
The partnership between Mercedes-Benz and the parcel delivery firm is designed to improve efficiency, productivity and sustainability. Once the trial has been completed the plan is to deploy the entire fleet of electric delivery vans in urban areas across Germany by the end of 2020.
Mercedes-Benz is planning to launch full production of electric vans by the end of the decade. The electric Sprinter is regarded as more suitable for package deliveries on shorter routes where range is less of an issue and where technology such as regenerative braking can be used to its full potential in stop-start traffic.
The German van manufacturer is focusing on a pure battery-electric version of the Sprinter, rather than a plug-in hybrid because the plug-in drivetrain is heaver, more complex and would reduce payload capacity.
Frank Rausch, Chief Executive for Hermes Germany GmbH, explained that electric vehicles are part of a long-term strategy for climate and environmental protection and that electrification of Hermes’ fleet will be central to that.
The plan is to use emission-free vehicles for all of its inner-city deliveries in Germany by 2025. Only electricity from 100% regenerative energy sources will be used to charge the electric vehicles’ batteries.
This new development adds to previous announcements to increase plug-in tech in city centres: earlier this year Ford announced a 12-month trial of 20 electric plug-in hybrid Transit Custom vans before they go on general sale in 2019. The vans run solely on electric power for the majority of inner-city journeys but feature range-extending petrol motors for longer trips.