The British business unit of parcel service provider Hermes has ordered 168 Mercedes-Benz eSprinters. The order is being handled by the Mercedes dealer Intercounty Truck & Van, and the electric vans will go into operation before the end of the year.
It is the first major investment in battery-powered vans for Hermes UK, and follows a trial run with two eSprinters at a depot in Enfield, north London. As well as the 168 electric vans, dealer Intercounty Truck & Van will also procure 132 diesel-powered Sprinters on behalf of Hermes. Fleet manager David Landy was quick to give assurances that the latter diesel vehicles are only supposed to serve as a stop-gap measure.
As such, the parcel service will rent the eSprinters via Mercedes-Benz Finance over a longer period of time. The diesel Sprinters, on the other hand, are only leased by the company via one-year contracts through Athlon UK, a unit belonging to Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler. Hermes said that this agreement makes it possible to replace the diesel vehicles as soon as charging options are available and electric versions with a longer range and higher charging capacity are available.
The offshoot of the delivery service wants to focus on equipping its ParcelShop business with electric vehicles. ParcelShop primarily comprises shops that offer themselves as pick-up and delivery locations. According to Hermes, “more than 5,000 shops and other locations are served” by this service. The logistics between the locations are handled by 450 vehicles or more at peak times.
To help electrify its fleet, Hermes has also contracted Pod Point to install charging points at its depots. Installation is already underway, with an initial focus on London and other cities with low-emission zones.
The charging infrastructure company, majority-owned by EDF, is also reportedly completing the construction of charging stations at 600 branches of the British retail chain Tesco in collaboration with Volkswagen. Pod Point also has a partnership with Kia and Lidl in the UK. Pod Point currently has over 3,200 charging devices in the UK, according to the Zap-Map database. The majority of these are destination chargers. Pod Point also provides charging infrastructure in Norway.