Solar Saviours: DHL’s Mission 2050: Zero Emissions

As all haulage companies know, it can be tough to meet high environmental standards and still turn a profit. Margins can be tight at the best of times, and too much regulation can risk pushing you into the red.

But going green doesn’t have to be a struggle. In fact, firms can have a positive public impact without sacrificing the bottom-line. As DHL is showing with its Mission 2050, the best businesses treat environmental standards as opportunities to innovate and improve.

Mission 2050

DHL is one of the world’s best known haulage companies – it’s practically a household name. This is a mark of success, sure, but a high public profile keeps the pressure on to meet and even exceed high standards.
In March 2017, DHL decided to make its mark in a new way. Aiming to ‘contribute meaningfully’ to achieving the 2015 Paris climate conference’s goal of keeping global warming well below 2°C, it launched an ambitious new project: Mission 2050.

While the initiative has many aspects, this article focuses on those that concern renewable energy – specifically solar power.

Electric Vehicles, Hybrids, and Alternative Fuels

Electric vehicles have already evolved a lot in the past 15 years. Companies like Tesla have worked hard to shed the ‘golf buggy’ stigma and make EVs cool, while hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles have seen similar boosts. Still, these innovations have mainly been aimed at the consumer market. Haulage companies often remain sceptical about the benefits that vehicles which run on anything other than petrol or diesel can provide.

DHL recognises this, and is working to develop innovative solutions aimed at heavy-goods transport. Major firms like Ford and Cadent are partnering up to work on plug-in transit for trucks weighing 30 tons or more – projects that could revolutionise the industry.

In the meantime, CNG (compressed natural gas) and LNG (liquefied natural gas) are the best alternative fuels for hauling businesses – and they offer efficiency savings too.

Solar Saviours

Finally, we come to the most impressive of Mission 2050’s initiatives: ‘trailar’, a revolutionary new solar power technology.

Developed alongside leading trailer manufacturer Don Bur, trailar aims to make it easier than ever to add solar capacity to an existing fleet. The idea is brilliantly simple: a two-millimetre-thick mat that can attach to the roofs of trailers or vehicles. For haulage companies, this is a godsend, as simply attaching a trailar mat can charge the vehicle’s battery or any other on-board devices. Attaching one to a trailer, meanwhile, would allow the trailer to contribute in the same way.

All this translates to significant fuel savings for any business that adopts the new technology. Haulage is a tough industry, and companies need to be able to change with the times. With Mission 2050, DHL is helping to ensure that meeting environmental challenges won’t leave your business in the dust.

Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage companies or self-employed drivers with jobs in road transport and haulage work. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.

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