An all-electric middle mile and why it matters

We’re all about setting a precedent within the industry, and the middle mile is core to that. At HIVED, we exclusively use electric vehicles for all of our activity, middle mile included, which promotes sustainability throughout the delivery process.

Yasmin Cohen
July 8, 2024
3
min read

The ease of ordering online is extremely attractive to the modern day consumer. You press order and your parcel is in your hands, just a few days later. However, behind the scenes lies a complex logistical network that needs to work seamlessly in order to successfully complete a delivery.  

At HIVED, we cover two parts of that logistics journey: the middle mile, which is the distance from the retailer distribution centre to our depot, and the final mile, which begins once the parcel has left our depot and is out for delivery. The final mile tends to get the most attention; it’s when customers will follow their parcel’s final journey in real time. Yet it is highly important to recognise how the middle mile is a key stage of a parcel’s journey, and is fundamental to our wider mission at HIVED. 

 

The middle mile and final mile are two core stages in a parcel's journey to the end customer.

An electric middle mile

At HIVED, we exclusively use electric vehicles (EVs) for all of our activity, middle mile included. This has a significant impact in reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainability throughout the delivery process.

According to the Department of Transport, electric vans save 260g of carbon per km (based on overall lifecycle), compared to diesel vans of the same size. There is a further expected decrease of 61g of carbon per km emitted for electric vans by 2050, further demonstrating the importance of an electric middle mile.

Currently, the use of electric vehicles for the middle mile is extremely rare, let alone operating the entirety of a middle mile network on EVs. We’re all about doing things differently at HIVED: our team and EV fleet drive cross-country each day to collect from retailers nationwide, operating across a wide geography and without any direct injections into the network. 

Owning the whole vertical

Ownership of the middle and final mile is key in ensuring that we maintain quality and provide a simplified yet robust network for retailers. By owning the vertical ourselves, there is no place for doubt, nor concern that our network will be compromised by fossil fuel powered vehicles. We have and will always be tailpipe emission-free and 100% powered by electricity, or other sustainable alternatives on the market once they exist. 

“Ultimately it is a seamless experience and a one-for-one replacement of a standard diesel dependent courier.” - Isabel Fuell, Head of Network

Our focus on continuous improvement and innovation ensures that we are not just keeping pace with industry changes but are actively driving them. Building out an EV fleet has opened the doors for innovation and future growth; as the technology behind electric vehicles continues to advance, we are able to engage with skilled features and improvements to further enhance our delivery capabilities.

The future of the middle mile

Consumers and businesses are increasingly engaging with environmental and socially focused initiatives and businesses. By exclusively adopting EVs for logistics, HIVED is able to both meet this demand and strengthen our commitment to driving long-term loyalty and growth. 

We’re all about setting a precedent within the industry, and the middle mile is core to that new standard. As the charging network in the UK continues to expand, an electric middle mile will only prove to be more feasible for other mass-market logistics providers and is part of a huge shift in the industry to rethinking things from the ground up.   

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