DHL Freight has deployed a hydrogen truck produced by special-purpose commercial vehicle manufacturer Paul Nutzfahrzeuge GmbH. The Paul Hydrogen Power-Truck, a vehicle based on the Mercedes-Benz Atego, will be used during the one-year pilot for distribution and linehauls at DHL’s Cologne, Germany, location.
This is the second hydrogen truck in operation for DHL Group in Germany. Another vehicle is operating for the Post & Parcel Germany division at the Cologne West facility.
The company and its divisions are testing and implementing various sustainable drive solutions as part of their sustainability strategy and the interim target of reducing emissions to less than 29 million tons by 2030.
“In the realm of road transport, where no single alternative drive technology has yet emerged as the clear winner, it is crucial for us to maintain a technology-neutral approach and continue testing various sustainable solutions,” says Dr. Thomas Vogel, CEO of DACH, UK & IE DHL Freight. “This includes not only battery electric trucks, but also hydrogen vehicles, which excel in longer distances due to their impressive range and quick refueling capabilities. Our ultimate goal is to determine the optimal combination of technologies and drive systems to achieve our net-zero emissions logistics target by 2050.”
The two 15.6-ton trucks, with a range of approximately 400 km with a trailer and 600 km without a trailer, were manufactured by Paul Nutzfahrzeuge on behalf of Shell in Vilshofen, Germany. The base for the first series-produced medium-duty fuel cell truck in Germany is provided by a Mercedes-Benz Atego. The vehicles are operated by DHL Freight and Post & Parcel Germany through the Shell Hydrogen Pay-Per-Use platform.
Besides the vehicle and hydrogen refueling infrastructure, Shell also provides all necessary services and support during the period of use. The trucks are exclusively serviced at the Commercial Vehicle Center of Daimler Truck AG in Frechen, Germany.
With hydrogen trucks, only water vapor comes out of the exhaust. If the hydrogen used is produced with green electricity, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions can be up to 100%.
DHL Freight already has around 150 vehicles in Germany that are either carbon emission-free or have significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions. These include battery electric vehicles for local transport and bio-CNG and bio-LNG vehicles for long-haul transport. Additional pilot projects involving battery electric vehicles for long-haul transport or hydrogen-powered tractor-trailers will be added in 2024.