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Solar panels to help charge batteries on 67 DHL Express trucks

Trailar solar technology to reduce emissions by 1,000 kilograms per truck annually

(Photo: DHL Express)

International shipping provider DHL Express announced on Thursday it is installing solar panels on 67 vehicles in its pickup and delivery fleet across the U.S.

Each medium- and heavy-duty truck with Trailar’s solar technology installed is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 1,000 kilograms per year, according to a release. For all 67 vehicles, that is the emissions equivalent of taking 14.6 passenger vehicles off the road each year.

The electricity generated from the sun using solar panels will be used to charge the battery and power liftgates and other ancillary equipment. This should reduce fuel consumption due to the reduced load on the alternator, DHL Express said.

“We’re aiming to improve the lives of people where they live and work, using cleaner pickup and delivery solutions – such as electric vehicles and cargo cycles – and now augmenting our truck fleet with this innovative solar solution,” Greg Hewitt, CEO of DHL Express U.S., said in a statement. “This is another strategic step in our drive forward to decarbonization and over time reducing all logistics-related emissions to net zero by 2050.”

Read: Will e-cargo bikes take over last-mile delivery?

The solar panels weigh 2 kilograms per square meter, so each panel adds only 7 kilograms to the truck’s weight, Hewitt told FreightWaves. “With the system being so lightweight, this has no impact on vehicle performance or hauling capacity.”

This is not the first time Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) has installed solar panels on trucks. It has used Trailar’s solution in fleet operations in 13 different parts of the world, Hewitt said, including Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and the U.S.

Trailar’s technology includes a telematics system that reports detailed information about the efficiency of the system, battery health, ancillary equipment charging, fuel savings and carbon emissions reduction. The Trailar Smart Charge Controller continuously maintains the optimum battery level, which along with reduced wear on the alternator, leads to lower overall vehicle maintenance costs, the release said.

“Our DPDHL divisions continue to work closely with Trailar to support our GoGreen sustainability strategy,” Hewitt said.

This addition of solar panels being installed on 67 DHL Express pickup and delivery trucks is part of DPDHL Group’s sustainability road map and goal to dedicate $8.25 billion to green technology by 2030. 

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Alyssa Sporrer.

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Alyssa Sporrer

Alyssa is a staff writer at FreightWaves, covering sustainability news in the freight and supply chain industry, from low-carbon fuels to social sustainability, emissions & more. She graduated from Iowa State University with a double major in Marketing and Environmental Studies. She is passionate about all things environmental and enjoys outdoor activities such as skiing, ultimate frisbee, hiking, and soccer.