DPD trials e-bikes as part of ‘Green Last Mile’ initiative

DPD plans to replace diesel vans, starting with electric bike trials in Meath and Louth.

Parcel delivery firm DPD is planning to deliver 1,000 parcels per day in Bettystown, Laytown and Drogheda using a double decker bus and 10 electric bikes.

The scheme is part of DPD’s Smart Urban Delivery “Green Last Mile” initiative and aims to replace 10 diesel vans on the road and at full capacity could save up to 550kg of CO2 emissions each week.

“It has really grown into a triple-win – it avoids CO2 emissions, it reduces congestion and it allows us to deliver parcels more efficiently”

“This project is already having a massive impact on communities in the towns involved,” said Des Travers, CEO of DPD Ireland.

“Rather than having diesel vans driving into these urban areas, we are using electric bikes which really improves the delivery experience. It has really grown into a triple-win – it avoids CO2 emissions, it reduces congestion and it allows us to deliver parcels more efficiently. We are looking very closely to see how we can replicate the scheme’s success elsewhere”.

Wheels of invention

DPD Ireland required an innovative solution to meet increased parcel delivery demand in the lead up to Christmas, coupled with the increased online shopping deliveries due to Covid-19.

Through a smart hub-and-spoke model, they have turned a double-decker bus into a mobile depot that deploys ten electric bikes with mini trailers to provide a ‘green last mile’ delivery in the more densely populated areas of the three towns.

The initiative avoids a significant number of motorway miles given the vans would have been driving from the depot to their destination each day. Instead of using ten long-wheelbase Mercedes Sprinters to deliver to the residential areas of these towns, DPD has opted for a depot on wheels, feeding a fleet of electric bikes to deliver parcels to local homes and businesses. 

To reduce bus emissions, the company has fitted a SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) system, the most advanced and effective exhaust gas after-treatment technology available. This filters soot particles from the diesel exhaust and reduces emissions containing harmful air pollutants such as particulates and Nitrogen Oxides.

This initiative offers significant reduction in the emissions, noise and congestion in the towns it is operating in.

Sustainable e-commerce

DPD sees electric vehicles as the future having launched Ireland’s first electric depot in Dublin last year. It plans to have over 160 electric vehicles on the road by 2025. DPD has already delivered 90,000 parcels by electric vehicle in Dublin, with plans to deliver many more into the future. 

“DPD’s ambition is to be the most sustainable parcel company on the island of Ireland. This is a journey, working towards our ambition to reduce CO2 per parcel by 30pc by 2025,” said James Atkinson, DPD Ireland Sustainability Programme manager.

“We will achieve this through fleet electrification, smart urban delivery and upholding our carbon neutral commitment. We are committed to continuing to provide outstanding service to bring us closer to the communities we work with and be an impactful leader in the world of sustainable e-commerce.”

According to Aidan Joyce, Managing Director of Eurocycles, 2020 has been a popular year for e-bikes. “Eurocycles have seen a 500pc increase in e-bike sales in 2020 vs 2019. We believe that initiatives like this supports the future of green last mile delivery and as a partner and customer of DPD, Eurocycles is delighted to be providing the electric bikes for this exciting initiative.”

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 7 December 2020