Hermes and Mercedes-Benz Vans have entered into a comprehensive strategic partnership to electrify the parcel delivery service provider’s vehicle fleet. The companies are to start using battery-powered vehicles in the logistics provider’s normal operations in a pilot phase in Stuttgart and Hamburg in early 2018. The focus will be on the economic viability, sustainability and practicality of emission-free delivery vans when used for the last mile. Hermes Germany intends to deploy 1,500 Mercedes-Benz Vito and Sprinter electric vans in urban areas across Germany by the end of 2020.
“Electric drive systems are a key technology for urban transport – especially in commercial use. Last-mile deliveries must become more efficient and – in specific areas of application – emission-free. We announced last year that we would be starting with the mass production of a Mercedes-Benz electric van again; the previous series production was in 2011. We are proud that in Hermes we already have our first customer – and with a significant number of vehicles at that. With these vehicles, we are making good on developing tailored industry solutions collaboratively with our customers, and putting them into concrete action. Hermes requires medium and large vans with electric drive capacities for its purposes. We can meet both of these needs with high-quality, safe vehicles that meet the highest standards also in terms of reliability and driver ergonomics”, says Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.
“E-mobility plays an essential role in our long-term strategy for climate and environmental protection. Following this, we are continuing down the path of sustainably renewing our vehicle fleet. Our strategic partnership with Mercedes-Benz is another milestone in this process. We are especially pleased to have had Mercedes-Benz at our side as a prestigious partner since 1972. A key aspect for the future is the gradual electrification of our vehicles in urban areas. We are also pressing on with the full-scale conversion to low-emission Euro 6 vehicles”, says Frank Rausch, CEO of Hermes Germany.
More profitability and sustainability, higher service quality
The partners are dedicated to optimising efficiency, productivity and sustainability in parcel deliveries. This is in large part due to the rapid growth of online retail and the resulting challenges for courier-express-parcel (CEP) services. An additional goal is to devise and implement new ideas that can improve service quality for customers. With the help of quiet, in certain areas emission-free vehicles, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Hermes Germany want to make a lasting impact on the optimisation of urban delivery. By the year 2025, Hermes intends to deliver parcels in the inner-city areas of all major German cities with zero emissions. Only the electricity from 100% renewable energy sources will be used to charge the electric vehicles’ batteries. The electricity will be generated without effect on the climate and will be in line with the standards required to earn the green-energy certification label (Grüner Strom) from German environmental associations.
Special focus will also be placed upon the technical feasibility and economic efficiency of electric vehicles in the CEP industry. New concepts are to be developed for the workforce integration of battery-electric vans into existing operational processes. This will include the necessary charging infrastructure.
System solutions for enhanced efficiency
Another crucial driver of efficiency improvement is the creation of system solutions that are optimally adapted to the specific applications – not only for the vehicles themselves but for additional areas as well. For example, as part of the partnership with Hermes, Mercedes-Benz Vans will be implementing integrated services such as those that facilitate optimal route planning by taking advantage of on-board information like battery life and estimated range. The van manufacturer will also contribute intelligent cargo-space solutions and innovative mobility services to the partnership. These include new kinds of leasing opportunities and short-term rentals for the contractual partners of Hermes.
Successful partnership for more than 40 years
For more than 40 years now, Hermes and Daimler have had a budding partnership based on the use of conventional vehicles. However, the companies have also worked closely in their long tradition of research and development of alternative drive systems. These developments go back to the 1990s – when the very first hydrogen-powered van on the market made its test run. In 2001, Hermes trialled a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with fuel-cell technology under normal operating conditions. In 2011, the Hamburg-based logistics provider deployed the first series-produced electric vehicle from Mercedes-Benz Vans, the Vito E-CELL. The two companies also cooperate on vehicles above 3.5 tons. Together with Hermes and the city of Stuttgart, Daimler is currently performing a fleet test with five battery-powered Fuso Canter E-CELL vehicles in urban distribution transport. The test started in April 2016.
With this partnership, Mercedes-Benz Vans is taking a significant step forward towards the implementation of its strategic future initiative, adVANce, which was presented last year. With adVANce, Mercedes-Benz Vans is being transformed from simply being a vehicle manufacturer into a supplier of customer-oriented holistic system solutions. In doing so, Mercedes-Benz Vans is concentrating on four areas of investment with up to 500 million euros by 2020: the integration of various connectivity solutions in vans (digital@vans), innovative hardware solutions for vans (solutions@vans), new mobility concepts for the needs-oriented transport of people and goods (mobility@vans) and optimised electric drive systems tailored to specific applications (eDrive@vans). In the strategic partnership with Hermes Germany, Mercedes-Benz Vans is proving its expertise in all four areas.
With its further intensified partnership with Mercedes-Benz Vans, Hermes Germany is pushing forward the implementation of an ambitious master plan for the systematic reduction of CO2 and particulate matter in the delivery sector. Hermes Germany sees it as part of its business responsibility to expand its pioneering role with regard to socially and environmentally compatible transport. The climate strategy of the parent company, Otto Group, aims to reduce group-wide CO2 emissions by at least half by 2020.More than 30 individual projects in the Hermes “WE DO!” campaign are contributing to the achievement of this goal.