20 Jul London-based trial for low emission tyres on DPD UK’s EV fleet

DPD UK is continuing its innovative stance on going green with a new trial of EV tyres that cut fossil fuel emissions and the use of microplastics. Making our fleet as green as possible is one of our major priorities in our bid to become the most sustainable parcel delivery firm in the world. We’ve already shown this through our additions to our EV fleet (on track to reach almost 1,500 EVs by the end of 2021), the implementation of micro-depots and our work on cutting city centre emissions. And now we’re actively trialling a new kind of low emission tyres on our electric vehicles, as part of Transport for London’s (TfL) FreightLab Innovation Challenge.

What are low emission tyres and why are they urgently needed?

Tyres may not be the first thing most people think of when they consider carbon emissions. However, tyres are mostly made from fossil fuels. Furthermore, as they wear out, they release more pollution into the air than the vehicle’s tailpipe. This tyre particulate matter (PM) pollution must be mitigated as soon as possible across the board to cut emissions.

Tyres also make up 28% of all primary microplastics found in our oceans. It’s conservatively estimated that there are currently around 51 trillion pieces of microplastic clogging our seas. And, according to a 2020 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Cornell University discovered that microplastics from the oceans are now in the air we breathe.

Electric vehicles are also more susceptible to tyres polluting the atmosphere than petrol powered vehicles. This is because EVs have a higher weight and torque, which wear tyres out faster. So, while EVs are obviously better for the environment in many ways, their tyres emit more PM pollution for other vehicles.

One of our initiatives to ensure DPD UK is as sustainable as possible focuses on adding EVs to our fleet as fast as possible. We’ve been really successful at this and will continue to convert our urban fleets to EVs. However, to truly make this count, we also need to factor in tyre pollution and find innovative ways to combat this too.

DPD’s trial is in partnership with tyre innovator ENSO

To this end, we’ve joined up with tyre innovator ENSO to conduct this London-based trial using their low emission tyres. The FreightLab Innovation Challenge is encouraging all kinds of new ideas, projects and initiatives across the capital to fight air pollution and road congestion in London.

Over the last 25 years, there has been an ever-increasing amount of freight movement around London and the wider Greater London region. It’s imperative that delivery companies now work with other stakeholders to find ways to reduce these harmful emissions and clean up the air in our cities. And that’s why we decided to team up with ENSO to trial their tyres on our fleet of EVs.

ENSO has its HQ in London and thanks to its revolutionary new tyre design, is one of the winners of the challenge, which is backed by the Mayor of London. Its tyres reduce air pollution and micro plastic tyre PM pollution and actually increase the range of the EV on one charge.

ENSO’s tyres have already broken records and are set to revolutionise the industry

The tyres have already broken a world record by complete the longest ever distance driven by a Renault Zoe E-Tech vehicle on just one charge. The distance travelled was 475 miles, and the record-breaking feat took place at Thruxton Race Circuit on 10 June 2021, in partnership with the UK Armed Forces’ motorsport charity called Mission Motorsport.

Our DPD trial of the ENSO tyres will compare them with the normal benchmark tyres used throughout the industry. We’re using the ENSO tyres on a fleet of our Nissan e-NV200 vans at both Hyde Park and Westminster all-electric delivery depots. The fleet will test out the tyres for nine months and along the way measure improvements in durability and energy efficiency again against industry benchmarks.

We are constantly looking for innovative solutions to the challenges we all face in lowering emissions and contributing towards a sustainable future. And this trial forms part of our ongoing strategy to lead the industry in sustainability.

Head of CSR Olly Craughan says: “Rather than concentrating solely on expanding our fleet of EVs, we recognise that our whole sustainability approach must be joined up. By working with like-minded innovators, we can solve major environmental challenges, such as air quality and pollution.

“We got to know ENSO through our involvement with London FreightLab and totally understand their vision. EVs are undoubtedly the future, but we must also solve the problem of tyre PM pollution. Without this, we’re not unlocking the full potential of electric vehicles to fundamentally change the future.”

Tyre trial fits in with DPD UK’s 25-25-25 vision for green delivery

DPD’s trial of ENSO tyres slots into our 25-25-25 vision – to deliver green to 25 towns and cities by 2025. Adds Olly: “This trial is another industry first for DPD UK and an important step for our overall strategy. We’re really keen to find out how the ENSO tyres perform on our EV fleet.”

According to ENSO CEO and Founder Gunnlaughur Erlendsson, these revolutionary tyres are designed to extend the range of the EVs and reduce PM pollution. He says: “Through TFL’s London FreightLab trial with DPD UK, we can demonstrate our product’s importance in reducing air pollution in London.”

ENSO’s own mission is to disrupt the global tyre industry (currently worth £200 billion) and revolutionise its approach to sustainability. By delivering durable, efficient and sustainable tyres for use with EVs, ENSO aims to reduce carbon emissions and pollution in line with the UK’s and the world’s commitments towards net zero.

By working with innovative, cutting-edge partners that are focused on solving the world’s sustainability issues, DPD UK continues to lead the way for other major parcel delivery firms.