With their regular routes, central depots and constant start-stop operation, postal delivery vans are a perfect candidate for electrification. Posten, the Norwegian postal service, recently ordered 240 Renault Kangoo Z.E.s to add to its existing fleet of 900 EVs). France’s La Poste operates a fleet of several thousand Kangoo Z.E.s.
Deutsche Post DHL, the privately-operated German postal service, apparently couldn’t find a commercially produced EV that met its needs, so it designed and built its own, with the help of a software program called Windchill, which allows the company to network with some 80 suppliers, including Bosch, which provides the electric drivetrain, and Hella, which makes the headlights.
Deutsche Post’s StreetScooter has 280 cubic feet of storage, and can carry 2,200 pounds of cargo. It’s built to last about 16 years, based on 60 hours a week of typical usage. The company has about 1,000 of the vehicles on the road, and plans to expand production to 5,000 per year. It is currently considering whether to offer the EV for sale to other companies.
This doesn’t sit well with Germany’s industrial giant Volkswagen, especially as the postal service is phasing out legacy VW Caddy vans in favor of the electric Streetscooters.
“I am annoyed beyond measure,” said Volkswagen Chief Executive Matthias Mueller. “I, of course, ask myself why Post did not talk to our VW Commercial vehicles division about doing something similar [in fact, Volkswagen and Deutsche Post jointly developed a concept electric van in 2011, but the project seems to have gone nowhere].
A Deutsche Post spokesman told Reuters that the company elected to go it alone only because existing vehicle makers turned down requests to build the electric vans.