DHL FIA Formula EDHL has shipped 41 electric race cars, spare parts, and 45 lithium-ion batteries to China for the opening of the second season of the FIA Formula E championship.

The vehicles and equipment have been moved more than 12,000km from Donington Park in the UK, to Beijing, China, via Belgium, Germany, Belarus and Russia.

DHL used multimodal transport modes including road, sea and rail.

Ahead of the race, DHL has also delivered more than 450 tonnes in supporting vehicles and equipment, including medical cars, broadcasting, and more than 10 containers of racing-related freight via air and sea.

Kelvin Leung, CEO, DHL Global Fowarding, Asia Pacific said, “It continues to be a great privilege to deliver Formula E to China for a second year running and take the championship into its next phase of sustainable innovation. As the FIA Formula E championship matures, the logistics challenges of delivering both cars and supporting equipment become more complex, particularly when transporting increasingly bespoke cars and power systems to international safety standards.”

DHL has had to address issues including delivery time constraints and limited container manoeuvrability. The batteries in particular are a challenge to ship. They each weigh 320kg and contain 200kg of lithium-ion cells, and require specialist handling, packaging and certification in many markets around the world. They are also subject to stringent transport safety regulations.

Charles Kaufmann, CEO, North Asia and head of value added services, DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific said, “With increasing safety concerns around the shipment of lithium-ion batteries and a growing number of airlines no longer accepting bulk battery shipments, we need to ensure a safe and sustainable way of shipping them. DHL provides the necessary specialist handling, packaging and certification for lithium-ion battery shipments and all battery components for Formula E are delivered with utmost care at each leg of the journey.”

The race series is the first global, fully-electric one. It covers ten cities in ten months, across 50,000km. Formula E has been designed with sustainability in mind, from the cars themselves, through to technology, and down to the logistics. Fathi Tlatli, president of automotive at DHL Customer Solution Innovations told Automotive Logistics, “Formula E is measured in terms of the sustainability of logistics. We have much more multimodal activity, using a lot of trains and ships… Formula E has optimised routing so there are regional clusters, and two sets of race equipment so you have fewer intercontinental movements. We have an Asia cluster, then South America, North America, and Europe.”