Parcel collection and delivery specialist Hermes has placed an order for 168 fully electric Mercedes-Benz eSprinters.
The company’s first substantial investment in battery-powered vans follows successful trials from a depot in Enfield, north London, of a pair of eSprinter demonstrators supplied by Intercounty Truck & Van.
They are all due be on the road before the end of the year, and will be assigned to Hermes’ ParcelShops service, which operates from more than 5,000 convenience stores and other locations nationwide.
Wellingborough-based Intercounty will also supply 132 diesel-engined Sprinter 315 CDI variants which Hermes says it has only ordered to ‘tide it over’ pending completion of its infrastructure programme and the introduction of next-generation battery-powered vehicles.
Hermes has also commissioned Pod Point UK to install charging points at its network of depots, with the focus initially on those in London and other cities that have introduced low emission zones.
The eSprinter is powered by a 114hp electric motor that drives the front wheels and will travel 95 miles on a single charge.
Its 55kWh high-voltage battery pack is securely mounted beneath the body, so does not impinge on cargo carrying space.
As a result, the eSprinter’s 11m3 load volume is identical to that of its diesel-engined, front-wheel drive stablemate, and half a cubic metre larger than its rear-wheel drive equivalent.
Using an 80kW DC fast-charging cable, the eSprinter’s four parallel batteries can be restored from 10% to 80% of maximum capacity in about 30 minutes.
David Landy, Hermes Head of Fleet said, “The transition to a zero-emission electric fleet is integral to our environment, social and governance agenda, and we’ve been keen to take the next, major step forward towards this goal.”