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Revolution in heavy goods transport

Deutsche Post tests fully electric lorry

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Deutsche Post is testing the first overhead line lorry on the A1. The all-electric vehicle called "Berta" collects data on a 5 km stretch of overhead lines. The technology is intended to contribute to the further decarbonisation of heavy goods transport.

View of the "Bertha" O-truck in use on the road

© Christian Bendel / Deutsche Post DHL

Deutsche Post has put the first overhead line truck into operation and is starting test drives on the A1 motorway between Lübeck and Reinfeld. The all-electric vehicle named "Berta" comes from the Swedish commercial vehicle manufacturer Scania.

The test drives are taking place on the so-called eHighway Schleswig-Holstein, a 5-kilometre stretch with overhead lines. Data is being collected for the first time as part of the accompanying FESH research project. Dresden University of Technology, the Research and Development Centre of Kiel University of Applied Sciences and Heilbronn University of Applied Sciences are involved in the project. The data collected will help to evaluate the technology, as announced on the project website. In addition to Berta, five other vehicles are also currently being tested, although these are not fully electric but hybrid overhead line lorries.

Ingo Kutsch, Head of the Deutsche Post and DHL branch in Kiel, commented on the current pilot test: "We want to further reduce our emissions and are of course prepared to test new technologies to this end, so we are happy to participate in research projects for the further decarbonisation of heavy goods transport," quotes the Lübeck news portal HL-Live.

The O-truck from Swiss Post can transport up to 900 parcels and will initially be travelling on the A1 in both directions from Tuesday to Friday. In the future, it is planned that it will be on the road six days a week. Deutsche Post plans to initially use the electric vehicle on a route of 80 kilometres and to transport letters and parcels to three different distribution centres between Hamburg and Lübeck.

The truck has a maximum range of around 250 kilometres. "The vehicle has nine battery packs with a total capacity of 297 kWh," explains Stefan Ziegert, Project Manager for Sustainable Transport Solutions at Scania Germany. Berta can receive additional power on the overhead line route: Each time it passes over the 5-kilometre test route, around 10-12 kWh can be absorbed, resulting in an additional range of 12 kilometres.