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.
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.