MT editor Steve Hobson, Dwain McDonald, CEO of DPD UK, and Carlos Oliveira Rodrigues, MD of sponsor Renault Trucks

In line with its wider urban delivery strategy, parcels firm DPD is aiming to build an all-electric fleet in “double-quick” time. By the end of 2020 it plans for more than 600 vehicles, around 10% of its fleet, to be fully electric.

The business has been innovative in its approach to securing new vehicles, with six key models now in operation or on order. Largest of these is a pair of 7.5-tonne all-electric FUSO eCanters, which carry out 200 vehicle movements a week, transporting goods into DPD’s city centre micro-depots.

They are joined by more than 300 zero-emission vans, including Nissan e-NV200s, Peugeot ePartners, Mercedes eVitos and DPD’s “workhorse” 3.5-tonners in the guise of the new MAN eTGE due to roll off the production line this summer.

So keen was DPD to transition its 3.5-tonne models that it even decided it would order left-hand-drive variants for conversion in the UK rather than wait for right-hand-drive ones.

For last-mile drops in congested areas, it has begun using two UK-first options:  Norwegian-built Paxster micro-vehicles and a bespoke electric cargo bike developed in partnership with British start-up EAV. The Paxsters travel 7-8 miles per day delivering up to 137 parcels on a single charge; while DPD’s venture with EAV saw it unveil a new electric quadracycle suitable for pedestrian zones as well as roads and cycle lanes.

DPD also focused on helping its driver workforce install home charging technology, providing them with £250 funding and helping them access a further £500 from the government to adopt the technology.

DPD has kept customers well informed about its clean fleet strategy, creating a live website feed to show real-time CO2 savings from electric vehicle deliveries, and sending each customer an annual carbon savings statement for electric vehicle deliveries made on their behalf.

The judges said the firm’s record  was “outstanding”, adding: “They are not just leading the way, they are driving government and vehicle manufacturers to change and step up to delivering the results for our planet. They are pioneers.”

"For many years we’ve said DPD is about the service, the technology, the customer centric people, but for the last two years it’s also been about being truly sustainable and we’ve revolutionised our operation in terms of investing in emissions free vehicles.

"We’ve gone from having zero to over 700 in the past 18 months. For us the future is emissions free, we want to get away from diesel. This is a step on our journey to 2025 where we hope to be delivering emissions free to 25 of the biggest UK cities."

Dwain McDonald