Business / Reading time: ~ 2 Min.

Hydrogen Truck in Pilot Operation for DHL Freight

On our way to emission-free logistics, DHL Freight counts on various technologies and different sustainable drive solutions – if they bring us closer to our sustainability goal. Towards the decarbonization of road freight, we have reached a new milestone and are testing a hydrogen truck. This means that there are now two hydrogen-powered vehicles in use at DHL Group in Germany.

On the Road for DHL Freight in the German Rhineland: Paul Hydrogen Power Truck

As part of a one-year pilot project, a hydrogen truck has been in operation in distribution and scheduled transport at DHL Freight’s Cologne site since the beginning of February. The Paul Hydrogen Power Truck (PH2P® Truck) now in service for DHL Freight is already the second of its kind at DHL Group in Germany. An identical hydrogen vehicle is on the road for the Post & Parcel Germany division at the Cologne West branch.

Technical Profile

The DHL Group’s two PH2P® trucks come from the Bavarian specialist vehicle manufacturer Paul Nutzfahrzeuge. The PH2P® is the first medium duty truck with hydrogen fuel cells that is ready for series production. It is based on a Mercedes-Benz Atego. The hydrogen drive consists of an 80kW fuel cell from Toyota, a single stage 200kW drive from Voith and two 60kWh batteries. The 15.6-ton PH2P® has a gross pull weight of 26 tons and a range of around 400 kilometers with trailer or 600 kilometers without trailer. The truck can be refueled within 10 to 15 minutes.

In overland transport in particular, for which no alternative drive solution has yet been finally established, it is important for us to investigate various sustainable solutions and remain open to new technology approaches. In addition to battery-powered electric trucks, this also includes hydrogen vehicles, which score particularly well on longer distances thanks to their range and fast refueling. Ultimately, the aim is to find the best mix of technologies and drive systems to achieve our goal of emission-free logistics by 2050.

Dr. Thomas Vogel, CEO DACH, UK & IE DHL Freight

Broad Cooperation for a Common Sustainability Goal

DHL’s PH2P® trucks were developed on behalf of Shell. DHL Freight and Post & Parcel Germany operate the vehicles under the innovative Shell Hydrogen Pay-Per-Use platform model.

In addition to the vehicle and the refueling infrastructure for hydrogen, Shell’s offer also includes all necessary services during the utilization period. The vehicles are serviced exclusively in the workshop of Daimler Truck AG’s commercial vehicle center in Frechen near Cologne.

Ecobalance of Hydrogen Drives and DHL Freight’s Sustainability Strategy

With hydrogen-powered trucks, only water vapor is emitted from the exhaust. If the hydrogen is produced with green electricity, the savings in greenhouse gases are up to 100 percent – just as with battery-powered e-vehicles when the electricity comes from renewable sources.

This is what makes hydrogen technology so appealing to us. DHL Freight and DHL Group are pursuing the ambitious goal of reducing all logistics-related emissions to net zero by 2050. At DHL Freight, we want to achieve decarbonization along the entire supply chain. An interim step in the sustainability strategy is to reduce the carbon footprint by 30 percent until 2030 compared to 2019 and to reduce emissions across the entire group to less than 29 million tons. To achieve this, we are focusing on various sustainable drive solutions.

Already today, around 150 vehicles without direct greenhouse gas emissions or with significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions are on the road for DHL Freight in Germany: battery-electric drives in local transport and bio-CNG and bio-LNG trucks in long-distance transport. Further pilot projects for long-distance road freight will follow in the course of 2024, with both battery-electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered semitrailer trucks.

All of them together not only ensure that your shipments reach their destination quickly and safely, but also jointly pave the way for a sustainable future in logistics.

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