DHL adds electric planes to express fleet

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

DHL Express has ordered 12 electric cargo planes.

The fully electric Alice eCargo planes will come from Eviation, a Seattle-based electric plane manufacturer. Eviation expects to deliver the Alice electric aircraft to DHL Express in 2024.

“We firmly believe in a future with zero-emission logistics,” says John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express. “We have found the perfect partner with Eviation as they share our purpose, and together we will take off into a new era of sustainable aviation.”

Alice can be flown by a single pilot and will carry 2,600 lbs (1,250 kilograms). It will require 30 minutes or less to charge per flight hour and have a maximum range of up to 440 nautical miles (815 kilometres). Alice will operate in all environments currently serviced by piston and turbine aircraft.

Alice’s electric motors have fewer moving parts to increase reliability and reduce maintenance costs. Its operating software constantly monitors flight performance to ensure optimal efficiency.

The aircraft is designed to be used on feeder routes and requires less investment in station infrastructure. The Alice can be charged while loading and unloading operations occur, ensuring quick turnaround times to maintain tight schedules.

The logistics company plans to build several zero emission Alice feeder networks in the U.S., most likely starting in California.

“My compliments to Eviation on the innovative development of the fully electric Alice aircraft,” says Travis Cobb, EVP global network operations and aviation for DHL Express.

“With Alice’s range and capacity, this is a fantastic sustainable solution for our global network and will be targeted for operations in the southeast and west coast of the United States. Our aspiration is to make a substantial contribution in reducing our carbon footprint, and these advancements in fleet and technology will go a long way in achieving further carbon reductions…This is a very important step in our decarbonization journey and a step forward for the aviation industry as a whole.”

The Alice aircraft has been designed so that it can be configured for e-cargo or passengers. Eviation’s Alice all-electric aircraft is on track for its first flight later this year.