DHL Express has ordered 12 electric cargo aircraft from start-up Eviation for delivery in 2024 and plans to build the world's first electric air cargo network, the unit of German logistics group Deutsche Post (DPWGn.DE) said on Tuesday.
DHL Express said in a statement that it was the first company in the world to order "Alice" aircraft from Eviation, adding it planned to establish the first electric air freight network in a step towards sustainable aviation.
"We strongly believe in the zero-emission future of logistics," said John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express. "Together we are venturing into a new decade of sustainable aviation."
DHL said Eviation expects to make a maiden flight later this year and plans to deliver the cargo aircraft to DHL in 2024.
It said "Alice" can be flown by a single pilot and carry over 1,200 kgs (2,600 pounds) of cargo. The charging time per flight hour is approximately 30 minutes, and the maximum range is 815 kms (440 nautical miles).
Eviation, owned by Singapore's Clermont Group, is one of a number of companies looking to develop small electric aircraft that would incur lower energy and operating costs, release less emissions and be quieter than conventionally fuelled planes.