Deutsche Post-DHL subsidiary StreetScooter and China's leading car manufacturer Chery Holding Group have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to begin local production, sourcing and development of last-mile electric light commercial vehicles (eLCV) specifically tailored to the Chinese market.
The joint venture agreement was concluded during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent trip to China and the MouU was signed by StreetScooter CEO Joerg Sommer and Chairman of the Board of Chery Holdings Co., Ltd., Yin Tongyue, in the presence of the heads of both the German and Chinese governments in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Gradual market entry of the StreetScooter
The two companies plan to develop an electric light utility vehicle for the international market in selected countries. The project will include local manufacturing and sourcing as well as nationwide sales and service. As outlined in the memorandum, the entry of electric light commercial vehicles into the Chinese market will be gradual. Mass production is scheduled to begin in 2021 with production capacities of up to 100,000 electric vehicles per year.
The market entry of StreetScooter in China follows an earlier strategic cooperation agreement with Japanese logistics company Yamato last month.
Streetscooter's CEO Sommer said the new venture with Chery will open up the world’s largest market for electric light commercial vehicles. "StreetScooter now has a commercial presence in Japan and China, the two most important national economies in Asia,” Sommer added.
Largest eLCV market
In a statement, Chairman of Chery Holding Group Yin noted that “The strong cooperation between Chery and StreetScooter will create opportunities for both parties to explore the global market, especially in the EU and China. It will also help Chery to further accelerate the development of innovative solutions based on new energy and smart interconnection and therefore surpass traditional fuel vehicles."
The joint venture also aims to establish a location for research and development in China, focusing on developing eLCV components, technology, vehicle architecture and design, autonomous logistics and energy solutions.
The Chinese market for light commercial vehicles is expected to reach 2.3 million trucks by 2025, over 900,000 of which are forecast to be electric. Such rapid growth will make China the largest market in the world for electric vehicles of this kind, followed by Europe and the U.S.
StreetScooter is expected to be sold
Despite the potential market for the StreetScooter in China and elsewhere, German media reports say that Deutsche Post intends to sell its subsidiary. “Producing cars does not belong to our core competencies,” Manager Magazin quoted DP CEO Frank Appel as saying.
Due to the lack of alternatives, DP purchased the then small car producer in 2014 because none of the established automobile manufacturers had an environmentally friendly eLCV in their portfolio.
By operating electrically driven vehicles, DP wanted to secure the delivery of parcels in city centres that are threatened by driving bans as their residents and shop keepers suffer from traffic noise and high air pollution.
A first prospective StreetScooter buyer already exists: the vehicle’s inventor Guenther Schuh.
Nol van Fenema