DHL Express has announced the purchase of 12 all-electric aircraft that it says will enter service by 2024.
The international mail carrier bought the aircraft from Israeli-founded company Eviation, an electric aircraft manufacturer owned by Singapore’s Clermont Group.
The aircraft, dubbed the ‘Alice’, can be flown by a single pilot and can carry up to 1,200 kilograms of cargo.
Alice will be charged while loading and unloading as it requires three minutes or less to charge per flight hour to operate a maximum range of 815 kilometres (440 nautical miles).
“We firmly believe in a future with zero-emission logistics,” said John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express.
“On our way to clean logistics operations, the electrification of every transport mode plays a crucial role and will significantly contribute to our overall sustainability goal of zero emissions.”
According to Planespotters, DHL operates a fleet of 189 aircraft, mostly Boeing and Airbus jets.
The mail service operates Airbus’ A300, A330 and Boeing’s 737, 747, 757, 767 and 777 jets.
The company also operates Douglas DC-8 jets from the American Douglas Aircraft Company, Saab 340s by Saab AB and Fairchild Aircraft and Tupolev Tu-204s by Aviastar-SP and Kazan Aircraft Production Association.
“Partnering with companies like DHL who are the leaders in sustainable e-cargo transportation is a testament that the electric era is upon us,” said Eviation CEO Omer Bar-Yohay.
The move is in response to the growing demand for large companies to transition to more sustainable operations.
The aviation industry contributes to 2 per cent of worldwide carbon emissions alone.
In the first quarter of the year, DHL announced its sustainability roadmap, investing €7 billion by 2030 in measures to reduce its carbon footprint.
The funds will filter towards the electrification of its entire fleet, sustainable aviation fuels and climate-neutral buildings, according to DHL.
United Parcel Services (UPS), another American mail service, revealed its plans in April to purchase up to 150 electric jets by 2024.
The express giant said It would purchase the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) from Beta Technologies for its small to medium markets.
Eviation executive chairman Roei Ganzarski said with on-demand shopping and deliveries rapidly growing, it is crucial to “establish clean, quiet and low-cost operations”.
“The next time you order an on-demand package, check if it was delivered with a zero-emission aircraft like DHL will be doing,” he said.