Up to this date, Deutsche Post subsidiary DHL is globally commonly known as a provider of diverse logistics services. Certainly not as a producer of electric vans, though! It’s a new chapter which is being now added to the company’s distinguished history.
DP-DHL and Ford have joined forces to produce an electric powered van named StreetScooter WORK XL. The vehicle is based on a Ford Transit chassis while DP-DHL is responsible for contributing the
drivetrain technology, the e-engine and the van’s body designed to the transport specifications of the logistics provider.
According to DHL, within this year, nearly 150 e-vans will be assembled in a plant in Aachen, North Rhine Westphalia. Once in service, DP-DHL will utilize their new e-vans to deliver parcels within German cities and densely populated areas. The industry partner’s plans go even further: Together, DP-DHL and Ford intend building a total of 2,500 e-vans in 2018, which then will become a common sight in cities like Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Munich, to name just a few. To accomplish this vision, a second assembly plant is standing on DHL’s agenda, located also in Germany’s most populated state North Rhine-Westphalia.
EU demands clean air
DP-DHL’s upcoming journey into emission-free road transportation was triggered by political pressure threatening to harm their business model. This, because the day is approaching when mayors and district councils will radically ban diesel cars from operating in downtown areas of cities like Berlin, Cologne or Hamburg. A step that’s long overdue since residents living near to heavily used roads are constantly suffering from high emissions of nitrogen oxides and fine dust pollution stemming specifically from older diesel cars that exceed permanently the emission limit values. These were introduced by the EU and are based on a Commission Directive on clean air, to be carried out by the member states of the bloc without exception. After treating this issue rather reluctantly in the past, meanwhile a growing number of communities are putting increasing pressure on the main air polluters, namely the automotive industry along with drivers of diesel cars and vans.
Playing the green card
In view of the big stick being swung by politicians that could cost courier firms a lot of business once their diesel vehicles are banned from inner-city access, DP-DHL decided to play the green card and to step into the field of e-van assemblage themselves. It was kind of a substitutionary measure because they didn’t find any car producer that was able to offer the package delivery company e-vans fitting their specific requirements.
On way to becoming Europe’s largest manufacturer of e-vans
On the occasion of publicly presenting the first jointly produced electric driven StreetScooter, Juergen Gerdes, Member of the Board of Management Post - eCommerce - Parcel, at Deutsche Post DHL Group, stated: "The new StreetScooter WORK XL is the perfect vehicle for parcel deliveries in major cities and large urban areas, and will enable us to cope with the rising parcel volumes in an even more environmentally friendly and quieter manner.” Gerdes went on to say: “With this commitment, we are also underlining our claim of being the market leader in green logistics."
Steven Armstrong, group vice president and president, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Ford Motor Company, pointed out that through the StreetScooter project DP-DHL and Ford will jointly become Europe's largest manufacturer of emission-free, medium-sized e-vans. “Buses, cars, and of course, delivery vans play vital roles in our daily lives, but we have to find a way to make them cleaner. This project is a great step along this path," Armstrong stated.
Their WORK XL will have a load volume of 20 cubic meters and is able to stow over 200 parcels. The e-van is fitted with a modular battery system delivering 30 to 90 kWh of power, giving the vehicle a range of between 80 and 200 kilometers. Noise emissions are near to zero.