DHL Express looks at StreetScooters for global suitability

By: Rob McKay

Range identified as an issue after testing other makes in Sydney

DHL Express looks at StreetScooters for global suitability
StreetScooter Work L was unveiled in Hannover


Deutsche Post DHL is eyeing use of the group’s own electric delivery van internationally as it gets a clearer idea of the limits of its vehicles.

Two years after purchasing start-up firm StreetScooter and four years following a prototype’s unveiling in Germany, development is progressing to possible commercial production to third parties next year.

Speaking at the recent launch of the DHL Express Singapore hub, DHL Express executive vice president Charlie Dobbie confirmed that arm’s interest in seeing the vehicles working outside Europe.

There, they have undergone testing and are doing the business, not least with Deutsche Post’s German postal delivery work.

"Our chairman felt that mainstream automotive companies didn’t offer, at that time, what [was] wanted, beginning with the German mail business, and they’ve developed a design and a vehicle with their own delivery guys to make purely delivery vehicles – so, it’s not a [converted] passenger vehicle," Dobbie says the drive for its own solution.

"They are under production at the moment and the intention is to build about 2,000 of those a year.

"DHL Express will be trialling some of those in the next couple of months to see if they are suitable for us."

Range will be a big factor in how soon they can come to Australia.

A DHL Express spokesperson tells ATN it has tested traditional manufacturers’ electric vehicles in Sydney and found them wanting for that reason.

DHL’s progress has on the StreetScooters, which now come in two sizes, has reportedly raised the ire of Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller, with the automotive behemoth quoted as being "annoyed beyond measure", despite apparently being unable to satisfy the postal and delivery firm’s needs.

This year has seen progress accelerate, with the launch last month of a larger sibling to the original StreetScooter Work – the Work L – at the IAA Commercial Vehicles trade fair in Hanover.

At eight cubic metres of loading space, enough for about 150 parcels, it comes with double the loading capacity of the smaller model.

The maximum vehicle load capacity of the Work L is 1,000 kg and its lithium ion battery is good for 120km and 80 km/h top speed with torque of 130 Nm.

Bosch supplies the electric drivetrain and IT is run by US firm PTC’s Windchill software.

Work L is "equipped with a stronger engine and a new lithium-ion battery, giving it a range of up to 100 kilometres", the group says.

"Deutsche Post DHL aims to have more than 170 StreetScooter Work L vehicles on the road by the end of the year and to use them for joint delivery – meaning the combined delivery of letters and parcels – as well as for parcel shipments alone as part of its ‘carbon-free delivery’ project."

The group used the Hannover event to highlight its flexibility, with what it dubs the PRO version featuring a media system and keyless entry and the Work Orange equipped with an electro-hydraulic three-way dumper instead and the deliver body.

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