DHL buys 12 electric cargo planes

Photo: AP

The leading global delivery company DHL announced a major move targeted at facilitating the curbing of carbon emissions. It confirmed a deal with the Eviation startup which envisaged the purchase of 12 cargo planes powered by electricity, CNBC reported. Eviation is a start-up focused on developing electric fixed-wing airplanes both for cargo and passengers.

“We’re going to spread them out in between the US West Coast and the East Coast. These Eviation electric planes will replace some of our current smaller feeder aircraft that we have in those markets,” Mike Parra, CEO of DHL Express Americas said.

“This lines up with our commitment to sustainability and the spirit of where we’re heading to a net zero emissions by 2050, Parra added”. Eviation is is building the Alice, a plane capable of carrying over 1,200 kgs of cargo. The charging time per flight hour is approximately 30 minutes, and the maximum range is 815 kms. Eviation, owned by Singapore's Clermont Group, is one of a number of companies looking to develop small electric aircraft that would incur lower energy and operating costs, release less emissions and be quieter than conventionally fuelled planes.

“DHL represents a very close-to-the-ideal customer for us,” said Eviation founder and CEO Omer Bar-Yohay. “They have the right footprint in the sense that they use planes of similar size to move parcels around today. This kind of goes hand in hand with what we’re doing at Eviation. We’re building Alice to fit existing business models, to fit existing airports, and to really work within the network of the operator.”

Electrification is a growing trend for passenger and commercial vehicles. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives forecasts it will grow to a $5 trillion market by 2030. FedEx said it will spend $2 billion to make its fleet 100% electric and achieve carbon-neutral operations by 2040. Amazon is testing electric delivery vehicles on the ground from start-up Rivian. It plans to purchase more than 100,000 electric vans for package delivery as part of a push to make its entire delivery fleet run on renewable energy.

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