Hermes is to work with Mercedes-Benz to roll out electric delivery vehicles in urban areas across Germany.

A new strategic partnership will see Hermes deploy battery-powered Mercedes Vito and Sprinter vans in Hamburg and Stuttgart, with a pilot scheme expected in early 2018.

The parcel delivery firm intends to have rolled out 1,500 electric vans by the end of 2020.

Volker Morninweg, head of vans at Mercedes, said electric technology was key to urban transport and that it was important for final-mile deliveries to become more efficient.

He said: "Last year, we announced that we will put a Mercedes-Benz electric van into series production again; our first one was in 2011.

"We are proud that we can already announce that Hermes will be our first customer – and with a significant number of vehicles at that. This is a specific implementation of our plans for tailored industry solutions in co-operation with our customers."

Frank Rausch, CEO of Hermes Germany, said: "Electric mobility plays a key role as part of our long-term strategy for climate and environmental protection.

"With this in mind, we are continuing along the path of sustainably renewing our fleet of vehicles. The strategic partnership with Mercedes-Benz is another milestone in this process."

Last April Hermes announced it was to take part in a 12-month trial of battery-operated, light duty trucks in the city of Stuttgart.

Last September, Mercedes-Benz released a prototype for its Vision Van; an electric vehicle with automated cargo management and drone launch pads (pictured).

Mornhinweg said: "With the Vision Van we are presenting the intelligent, clean and fully interconnected van of the future.

"The Vision Van integrates many concrete concepts for future delivery operations in the urban environment."