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Op-ed: Let’s start here, in America

DHL installing TRAILAR solar technology on 67 trucks in US

DHL Express is installing solar panel units on trucks within its US pickup and delivery fleet, reducing fuel consumption in markets throughout the country. Equipping 67 of DHL Express’ medium- and heavy-duty trucks with the TRAILAR solar technology is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 1,000 kg per year for each vehicle, also lowering both fuel and maintenance costs.


The solar system generates electricity from sunlight, and will be used to charge the battery, power lift gates and other ancillary equipment. This reduces the load on the alternator and, as a result, fuel consumption.

We’re aiming to improve the lives of people where they live and work, using cleaner pickup and delivery solutions—such as electric vehicles and cargo cycles, and now augmenting our truck fleet with this innovative solar solution. This is another strategic step in our drive forward to decarbonization, and over time reducing all logistics related emissions to net zero by 2050.

—DHL Express US CEO Greg Hewitt

An integrated, state-of-the-art telematics system provides detailed information on the efficiency of the entire system through web-based reporting, including battery health, charging of ancillary equipment, overall fuel and C02 savings and more.

With continuous battery management via the TRAILAR Smart Charge Controller, solar energy is used to maintain battery levels at the most optimum level, even when the vehicle is off. This constant care of the battery and reduction in alternator wear has a direct impact in reducing overall vehicle maintenance costs.

Deutsche Post DHL Group has implemented the TRAILAR solution within many of its fleet operations at business units that operate in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

On 22 March 2021, Deutsche Post DHL Group announced an accelerated roadmap to decarbonization, which includes investing a total of €7 billion (Opex and Capex) over the next ten years in measures to reduce its CO2 emissions.



If DHL could switch to BEVs that would be much
better that just solar panels on the roof.


This is easier to do than replacing a whole fleet

Thomas Pedersen

Utilizing the considerable roof space of truck trailers would be unquestionably beneficial, but for whom?

For many trailers the difficult question is who makes the investment and who benefits. This question is already answered for fleet operators who own their trailers.

Mostly, the solar power can be used to reduce trailer cooling demand as well as 'hotel loads'.

Retrofitting a form of emotor in the driveline would be next step but I suspect often difficult for practical applications.

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