When no manufacturer wanted its business, DHL designed its own electric delivery van. Now it is doubling production and selling its products to other companies.
Posted by Steve Hanley – April 13th, 2017
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.
“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.
Originally posted here.