Green Driving

Deutsche Post Challenges Auto Industry with Electric Van

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There are currently about 2,500 StreetScooter vans in Deutsche Posts's fleet. Source: Oliver Berg/DPA

Deutsche Post said on Tuesday it will double the production of its StreetScooter electric delivery vans to 20,000 by the end of the year, as it prepares to sell them to consumers.

So far, the vehicles have only been used in-house, replacing diesel-powered vans in Deutsche Post’s fleet. Now the company will market externally, and commission a further production site in North Rhine-Westphalia to meet demand. In total, the company wants to double its production capacity of the small vehicles by the end of 2017, from 10,000 to 20,000.

Deutsche Post sees municipal authorities, strategic partners and large fleet customers in Germany and across Europe as potential buyers. The company aims to at least double its own StreetScooter fleet of about 2,500 vehicles for letter and parcel deliveries.

Last September, Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller said he was “massively annoyed” that the post office had not come to VW about the project.

“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 electromobility, and to make our expertise available to others,” Deutsche Post board member Jürgen Gerdes said in a statement.

At least half of annual production of the StreetScooter will go to outside customers, said the company. The vehicle is licensed to be used all over Europe, but has not yet won official approval from authorities in the United States and Asia.

StreetScooter was founded in 2010 as a private research initiative at a German university, before expanding and being purchased by Deutsche Post late in 2014.

With its launch of the electric vehicle, the postal service has stolen a trick on the car industry. Mr. Gerdes said inquiries had been made to Iveco, Mercedes, and Renault about production, but he was only offered electric versions of their standard vehicles.

Last September, Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller said he was “massively annoyed” that the post office had not come to VW about the project. In fact, says the post office, it did exactly that, but was offered no satisfactory vehicle. “As customers, we were obviously too small,” said Mr. Gerdes.

The annual production of StreetScooter vehicles is to be divided in roughly equal parts between the “Work” and “Work L” models with prices starting at €32,000, or $33,900. This adds up to a tidy profit for the postal service, since total production costs on the models are only around €23,000.

Daniel Tost is an editor with Handelsblatt Global. To contact the author: tost@handelsblatt.com.

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