Picture of the Week: DHL Group trial Paul Hydrogen Power-Truck, based on the Mercedes-Benz Atego in Germany

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This month DHL Freight undertook a trial exercise in a hydrogen powered truck by special-purpose commercial vehicle maker Paul Nutzfahrzeuge GmbH. The Paul Hydrogen Power-Truck, a 4×2 rigid medium-duty vehicle based on the Mercedes-Benz Atego, will be used during the one-year pilot for distribution and line hauls at the Cologne location. This is the second hydrogen (H2) truck for DHL Group in Germany. Another H2 truck is operating for the Post & Parcel Germany division at the Cologne West facility. The company and its divisions are testing and implementing various sustainable drive solutions as part of their sustainability strategy and the interim target of reducing emissions to less than 29 million tonnes by 2030.

“In the realm of road transport, where no single alternative drive technology has yet emerged as the clear winner, it is crucial for us to maintain a technology-neutral approach and continue testing various sustainable solutions. This includes not only battery electric trucks but also hydrogen vehicles, which excel in longer distances due to their impressive range and quick refuelling capabilities. Our ultimate goal is to determine the optimal combination of technologies and drive systems to achieve our net-zero emissions logistics target by 2050,” says Dr. Thomas Vogel, CEO of DACH, UK & IE DHL Freight.

The two 15.6-tonne trucks, with a range of approximately 400km with a trailer and 600km without a trailer, were manufactured by Paul Nutzfahrzeuge on behalf of Shell in Vilshofen, Southern Germany. The basis for the first series-produced medium-duty fuel cell truck in Germany is provided by a Mercedes-Benz Atego. The vehicles are operated by DHL Freight and Post & Parcel Germany through the innovative Shell Hydrogen Pay-Per-Use platform model. In addition to the vehicle and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, Shell’s offering also covers all necessary services and support during the period of use. The trucks are exclusively serviced at the workshop of the Commercial Vehicle Center of Daimler Truck AG in Frechen. With hydrogen trucks, only water vapor comes out of the exhaust. If the hydrogen used is produced with green electricity, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions can be up to 100%.

For DHL Freight, there are already around 150 vehicles in Germany that are either carbon emission-free or have significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions. These include battery-electric vehicles for local transport and bio-CNG and bio-LNG vehicles for long-haul transport. Additional pilot projects involving battery-electric vehicles for long-haul transport or hydrogen-powered tractor-trailers will be added in 2024.

Pictured at announcement, from left to right: Florian KrompaƟ, Project Manager, PH2P Truck, Paul Group; Dr. Thomas Vogel, CEO DACH, UK & IE DHL Freight, Dr. Antje Huber, SVP Strategy, Marketing and Chief of Staff DHL Freight; Christian Hoellinger, Hydrogen Mobility Platform Manager Shell; Lars Zimmermann, Head of Hydrogen Mobility DACH Shell