Propane Autogas – Conversions and Infrastructure

DHL Delivers on Green

September 2012, Green Fleet Magazine - Cover Story

by Grace Suizo - Also by this author

DHL Express recently rolled out 100 ROUSH CleanTech propane-autogas vans in California, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, and Texas. The DHL fleet operates more than 4,000 alternative-fuel vehicles worldwide.
DHL Express recently rolled out 100 ROUSH CleanTech propane-autogas vans in California, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, and Texas. The DHL fleet operates more than 4,000 alternative-fuel vehicles worldwide.

DHL Express, a division of global logistics industry provider Deustche Post DHL, is emitting fewer pollutants and picking up more green points with Mother Nature, thanks to its new propane-autogas-powered vans. The 100 units — which started rolling out in September of this year in California, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, and Texas — are the latest to join the company’s growing fleet of more than 4,000 alternative-fuel vehicles around the globe. With these new additions in place, the company is truly delivering the green.

Taking a Greener Route
DHL Express serves as the division of Deutsche Post DHL (DPDHL) responsible for express delivery, and coordinates with other logistics divisions of DPDHL. Today, the DPDHL group operates more than 4,000 alternative-fuel vehicles worldwide, and that number is growing.

Adding to the growing alt-fuel fleet total are 100 new Ford E-250 cargo vans equipped with ROUSH CleanTech propane-autogas systems, which will support DHL Express’ U.S. pickup and delivery services within California, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, and Texas.

DHL said it based its decision to deploy propane autogas vehicles in markets that require a wider operating range for higher-mileage conditions.

The new DHL vehicles are part of the company’s comprehensive GoGreen program, which aims at adding fuel-efficient, hybrid, electric, or aerodynamically modified vehicles to its fleet worldwide. In the past year, DHL has upgraded its global delivery fleet worldwide, including in several European and Asian countries, as well as in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, and Paraguay in the Americas.

The propane-autogas-powered E-250 vans replace similar-sized gasoline-powered models that have reached the end of their useful life, in most cases five years or more, according to John Fox, DHL Express area VP and general manager for the Southeast U.S.

According to Todd Mouw, VP of sales and marketing for ROUSH CleanTech, the two companies formally began working together to discover a solution for DHL in February of this year. DHL sent out a request for information (RFI) and included ROUSH CleanTech on the initial distribution list.

“Our network of sales executives calling on strategic public and private fleets has helped open the door to many new opportunities, including DHL,” Mouw said, noting several other fleets using the Ford E-Series platform with the ROUSH CleanTech propane-autogas fuel system installed include fleets such as SuperShuttle.

“When DHL posted their RFI, they included us in the initial distribution. The RFI was developed to help DHL learn about what alternative-fuel vehicle options exist that could apply to their fleet,” Mouw said. “Attention was given to product diversity, availability for a quick roll-out, and the availability of a robust service network. We responded with a solution that meets their needs.”

Among those needs is reducing its carbon footprint. DHL has a target goal of improving its worldwide carbon efficiency 30 percent by 2020 using 2007 levels as a baseline.

Using propane autogas is one way of getting closer to hitting that goal. DHL expects to reap significant environmental benefits, including cutting greenhouse gases by up to 25 percent, carbon monoxide by up to 60 percent, nitrogen oxide by 20 percent, and virtually eliminating particulate matter when compared to conventional fuels. Each new propane-autogas-powered van is expected to lower CO2 emissions by more than 22,587 lbs. and cut fuel costs roughly 42 percent on a per-mile basis, according to DHL’s Fox.

“We expect a 28-percent overall vehicle operating cost-per-mile improvement,” Fox said.

And, while expanding its alternative-fuel fleet drives DHL Express farther down the path leading to greater environmental sustainability, it also provides the added benefit of helping the company’s customers go green, too.

“Customers in the U.S. and worldwide are increasingly demanding greener logistics and sustainable business practices,” said Ian Clough, CEO of DHL Express U.S. “Initiatives like the propane-autogas fleet not only lower our DHL carbon footprint, but are a smart, clean, and cost-effective choice for our business.”

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