DPD, the French-owned delivery company, is to become one of the UK’s biggest operators of electric vehicles after ordering 750 zero-emission vans that will double its battery-run fleet to 1,500.
The order for Maxus vans is believed to be Britain’s biggest single order of Chinese-made vehicles.
Maxus was formerly known as LDV, or Leyland Daf Vans, a vestige of the old British-owned car industry.
The intellectual property of LDV was acquired by SAIC — the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation — in 2010 after it went into administration during the global financial crisis.
DPD, a division of La Poste, is taking delivery of 500 larger 3.5 tonne Ford Transit-style vans and 250 smaller vehicles. A fleet of 1,500 electric vans would represent nearly a fifth of DPD’s total UK fleet of 8,000 vehicles.
It is a big deal for SAIC as the number of its Maxus electric vans in the UK is reckoned to be in the low hundreds. The larger Maxus vans claim to be able to operate for 200 miles on a charge.
Olly Craughan, a DPD director, said: “The 3.5 tonne van is the workhorse of any delivery and collection fleet, so to get our hands on an EV with this kind of capacity and range is a real game-changer. We know from our shippers that being able to offer their customers green deliveries is a huge plus point.”