Hermes: The transition to a zero-emission electric fleet is integral to our ESG

Hermes: The transition to a zero-emission electric fleet is integral to our ESG

Hermes has underscored its commitment to an emissions-free future by placing a landmark order for 168 fully electric Mercedes-Benz eSprinters.

The zero-emission vans should all be on the road before the end of the year. They will be assigned to popular ParcelShops service, which operates from more than 5,000 convenience stores and other locations nationwide.

The company’s first substantial investment in battery-powered vans follows successful trials from a depot in Enfield, north London, of a pair of eSprinter demonstrators supplied by Intercounty Truck & Van.

The Dealer, which has headquarters in Wellingborough, and other branches in Boston, Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Toddington, won Hermes tender and will be fulfilling its entire order for Mercedes-Benz vans. This also includes 132 diesel-engined Sprinter 315 CDI variants.

Hermes has commissioned Pod Point UK to install charging points at its network of depots. This work is already underway, with the focus initially on those in London and other cities that have introduced low emission zones.

Hermes plans to undertake all ParcelShop collections with electric vehicles at the earliest opportunity. The company has only ordered the diesel vans to ‘tide it over’ pending completion of its infrastructure programme and the introduction of next-generation battery-powered variants.

Thus, while its first eSprinters will be the subject of longer Mercedes-Benz Finance contract hire agreements, the Sprinter 315 CDIs will be on one-year terms with Athlon UK, which is owned by Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG. This arrangement will allow Hermes to replace the diesels once charging facilities are in place and electric versions with longer ranges and higher carrying capacities become available.

The company relies on a core fleet to service its ParcelShop business. This currently stands at some 450 units but is growing, and supplemented with rented vehicles during busy periods. The owned fleet includes 30 smaller electric vans that work from a depot in East London, while French-built diesels will be stood down to make way for the eSprinters.

Hermes, Head of Fleet David Landy confirmed: “The transition to a zero-emission electric fleet is integral to our ESG (environment, social and governance) agenda, and we’ve been keen to take the next, major step forward towards this goal.

“However, we are under no illusions… this will not be an easy journey. From a purely operational standpoint, and given the current state of the technology, whichever way you look at it – whether in terms of range, payload or volume – a van with an internal combustion engine beats an electric one hands down.

“Only when it comes to tailpipe emissions does the battery-powered vehicle outshine the diesel. So we know there are constraints and compromises to make, and we recognise that this is going to put extra pressure and increased demands on those colleagues out in our depots who are doing a difficult job, day in, day out.”

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