Germans to build own unique electric vans for postal service


Deutsche Post StreetScooter electric van prototype

Deutsche Post StreetScooter electric van prototype

Enlarge Photo

Deutsche Post, Germany's postal service, wants to use electric vehicles, and it's going to great lengths to achieve that goal.

It will build its own electric vans, in fact.

In 2012, Deutsche Post debuted prototype electric vans built by startup StreetScooter, and in 2014 it acquired the company outright.

DON'T MISS: Automakers to fund 40 percent of proposed German electric-car incentive: Report

Now, the service is ready to start building its own StreetScooter electric vans, according to Europe Online.

Deutsche Post expects to build 2,000 vans this year, which will join a handful of electric vans of various types already in operation.

Officials hope to eventually replace Deutsche Post's 30,000-unit fleet of internal combustion vans with electric vehicles.

Deutsche Post StreetScooter electric van prototype

Deutsche Post StreetScooter electric van prototype

Enlarge Photo
A group of 50 prototype vehicles were put into service in 2013.

These have 30-kilowatt (40-horsepower) electric motors, allowing for a top speed of 85 kph (52 mph).

A lithium-ion battery pack of unspecified size allows for a range of 120 kilometers (74 miles), according to Deutsche Post, as measured on the European testing cycle.

ALSO SEE: Hydrogen As Electric-Car Range Extender? French Tests Start Soon (Dec 2013)

Deutsche Post plans to build vans exclusively for its own use right now, but is reportedly considering sales to fleet customers in the future.

StreetScooter was founded in 2010, and built about 200 vehicles at its Aachen, Germany, plant before it was bought by Deutsche Post, the postal service said at the time.

Because they travel predictable routes over short distances, delivery vehicles as viewed by some as ideal applications for battery-electric powertrains.

Deutsche Post StreetScooter electric van prototype

Deutsche Post StreetScooter electric van prototype

Enlarge Photo
The Renault-Nissan Alliance currently sells the Nissan e-NV200 and Renault Kangoo ZE electric vans, and several smaller companies have marketed electric delivery vans as well.

In 2014, French postal service La Poste began testing a fleet of the Renault vans equipped with hydrogen range extenders.

These "HyKangoo" vehicles used 5-kilowatt fuel-cell stacks to charge their lithium-ion battery packs.

MORE: U.S.P.S. 'Long Life' Vehicles Last 25 Years, But Age Shows Now (Feb 2015)

Meanwhile, it's expected that the U.S. Postal Service's current fleet of "Long Life Vehicle" mail vans will need replacement soon.

The vehicles, built by aircraft manufacturer Grumman, have now been in service for around 25 years.

But carmakers have shown little interest in designing a replacement—electric or otherwise.

[hat tip: Brian Henderson]

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