DHL Plans To Double Production Of Its Electric Delivery Van


Disruption is a beautiful thing. DHL — known in Europe as Deutsche Post — is one of the largest delivery companies in the world. When it wanted to reduce is carbon footprint by using battery-powered electric delivery vans, it approached several major manufacturers and asked them to supply it with vehicles that met its needs. Not possible, the manufacturers all said. Too expensive. Not enough volume to make it worth our while.

DHL electric delivery van assembly line

So DHL designed its own. Then it set up a production line to manufacture them. Now it is doubling production and selling its StreetScooter electric delivery van to other customers. When Volkswagen first heard what DHL was doing, some of its executives grumbled that DHL should have asked VW to build its van.

In fact, DHL did precisely that, but Volkswagen told them to go away and bother someone else. DHL says it will expand production by adding another assembly line in the North Rhine-Westphalia region. And that is how disruption happens. Eat your heart out, Volkswagen!

At least half of this year’s annual production is planned for external prospective buyers of the vehicles. DHL sees potential customers being municipalities and other large fleet operators in Europe. In addition, it will replace more of the conventionally powered delivery vehicles in its own fleet with StreetScooter electric delivery vans this year.

“The large demand for the StreetScooter and our own ambitious climate-protection goals have encouraged us to further expand our commitment in the area of electro-mobility and to also make our expertise available to others. As a result, we are confirming our aspiration to remain the engine of electro-mobility and to become market leader in green logistics,” says Jürgen Gerdes, who sits on the DHL board of directors.

The StreetScooter comes in two sizes. The Work model has a capacity of 140 cubic feet and starts at €32,000 for the Work Pure model. The Work L has double that capacity — 280 cubic feet. The company is planning to introduce a Work XL version with 700 cubic feet of cargo capacity by the start of 2018. In addition to selling its vehicles, DHL also assists customers with the installation of the charging infrastructure they need to keep their StreetScooters charged up and ready to go.

This whole electric delivery van thing started because DHL wanted to stop spewing carbon emissions into the atmosphere while it was delivering packages for people. Just a few weeks ago, it became the first logistics company to announce that it plans to reduce all logistics-related emissions from its business to zero in net terms by 2050.

Source: Electric Cars Report

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I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.
  • roseland67

    Kinda almost sorta exactly what I predicted right here a while ago Steve.

    18 wheel semis stil using diesel for cross country, but their routes stop at distribution centers outside of urban areas.
    Short haul electric vans for “To door” delivery, (unless of course the load simply will not fit).

    • Steve Hanley

      That Work XL trucks sounds like it could handle almost any kind of load. But you are right. This is another important link in the chain of events that will uncouple global transportation from reliance on fossil fuels. Yay!

    • airchompers

      Why diesel? If you spend >95% of your time on the open road, natural gas turbines make a lot of sense.

      • Peter Duncan

        If you account for the fracking mess and the millions of leaks all along the distribution chain. NG is as worse as diesel.

  • Antony Berretti

    I’m Back….! Some time back when you first ran this story the feeling on the discussion thread was that it wasn’t going to stop at a single production run, that DHL would probably offer to other companies their baby!
    Well as you say this is disruption and dam good as well if it makes the incumbents squirm uncomfortably…Maybe DHL should team up with Tesla? Just for fun to see what other advances could grow from the union….

  • kevin mccune

    Well the “cat is out of the bag” , now it looks like we are going to have some options till the big players get together and shut the door , like they did in the 30’s on the “streetcars”.