Aug 3, 2021 - Economy

DHL to add Eviation's electric cargo planes to its fleet

DHL electric plane

DHL Express's electric cargo plane. Image: Courtesy of DHL Express

Logistics provider DHL Express is adding electric cargo planes to its fleet, becoming the first customer for Eviation, a Seattle-based electric aviation company.

Why it matters: As delivery on demand explodes, shipping and logistics providers like DHL are under pressure to make every mode of their operations more sustainable — aircraft, trucks, last-mile delivery vans, and even their buildings.

  • DHL has committed 7 billion euros ($8.3 billion at today's rate) by 2030 for steps to reduce its CO2 emissions, on its way to a zero emissions target by 2050.

Driving the news: DHL said today it has ordered 12 fully electric Alice cargo planes from Eviation, and expects to take delivery in 2024.

Details: Alice, which can be configured for cargo or passengers, requires 30 minutes or less to charge per flight hour and has a maximum range of about 500 miles.

  • It can be flown by a single pilot and carry up to 2,600 pounds, and can operate in environments where piston and turbine planes are currently used.
  • As with electric automobiles, fewer moving parts means reduced maintenance costs and increased reliability, according to Eviation.
  • Its operating software constantly monitors flight performance to ensure optimal efficiency. A first flight is scheduled for later this year.

What they're saying: “From day one, we set an audacious goal to transform the aviation industry and create a new era with electric aircraft,” says Eviation CEO Omer Bar-Yohay.

  • “Partnering with companies like DHL who are the leaders in sustainable cargo transportation is a testament that the electric era is upon us. This announcement is a significant milestone on our quest to transform the future of flight across the globe.” 

What to watch: DHL plans to build several zero emission Alice feeder networks in the U.S., targeting the West Coast and Southeast U.S.

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